We break down what happens when Rugby World Cup knockout matches are drawn

With 48 matches to be played at Rugby World Cup 2023 in France, it could well happen that there is a draw or two along the way. And if that happens you may want to know if there’s extra time at Rugby World Cup fixtures.

You may remember Australia and England played into extra time in 2003, when the match was drawn after 80 minutes. But have the laws changed since then? We break down what happens if there’s a tie, below.

Is there extra time at the Rugby World Cup?

If there’s a draw in a quarter-, semi-, third-place play-off or final, here is what happens if a match is tied. There will be a five-minute break and then there will be two halves of ten minutes, with another five-minute interval between them. 

There will be a coin toss to decide who kicks off first, and the other team gets to decide which direction they are playing.

If one of the teams leads after these two halves of extra time, they are the winer

Sudden death  

If the match is still tied after extra time, there will be another five-minute interval and then a further ten minutes of play – sudden death. Whoever scores first in this period will win the match.    

Kicking competition  

If after sudden death it’s still a Rugby World Cup draw, we’ll have a a kicking competition. Whoever wins that, wins the match. 

A coin toss decides who kicks first.

Only players who were on the pitch at the conclusion of the match can kick.

five players from each Team will take place kick from three different areas, all on the 22 metre line, as follows:  

  • Position 1: directly in front of the posts 
  • Position 2: on the 15 metre line on the left-hand side of the posts (determined as facing the posts)
  • Position 3: on the 15 metre line on the right-hand side of the posts (determined as facing the posts) The referee will start the competition by calling the first player selected from the Team kicking first to the first kicking position. Once the player has taken the kick, the referee calls a player from the opposing Team to kick from the same position.

If there is an equal number of successful kicks once each team has completed its five kicks, the competition continues on a “sudden death” basis, following the same order of kickers used in the first five kicks.    

Should a player be injured during the kicking competition, they can be replaced – but only by one of the remaining players who was on the field when sudden death in extra time concluded. 

And that’s how we deicde a match if there’s extra time at Rugby World Cup 2023!

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