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John Griffiths is a widely respected rugby historian and is the author of several sports books, including The Book of English International Rugby, The Book of International Rugby Records, British Lions, The Five Nations Championship, Rugby's Strangest Matches and Rugby's Greatest Characters. He was a regular contributor to the Daily Telegraph for 19 years and is co-author of the IRB International Rugby Yearbook. He has also provided insight for Scrum.com since 1999.
Ask John
A player injured while taking the field, goals from a mark and English players in Super Rugby
John Griffiths
March 29, 2010

Welcome to the latest edition of Ask John where renowned rugby historian John Griffiths will answer any rugby-related query you have!

So, if there's something you've always wanted to know about the game we love but didn't know who to ask, or you think you can stump our expert - then get involved by sending us a question.

In this edition John answers questions on the ball going dead from a drop-goal, goals from a mark, a player injured while taking the field and English players in Super Rugby.

I have long been baffled about exactly how players formerly scored "goals from a mark". Can you explain this please? My guess is a player could claim a mark and then take a drop kick at goal? Or could they take a place kick? Was it possible at the time to take a mark anywhere on the field, or only in your own half? Paul Marshall, New Zealand

Until 1977, a mark or fair catch could be claimed anywhere in the field of play. It could be claimed from a kick, throw forward or knock-on provided the catcher made a mark with his heel at the place where he made his catch.

The resulting free kick could be taken with a place-kick, a drop-kick or a punt, but a goal from a mark could only be scored by kicking the ball over the crossbar from a place-kick or drop-kick.

The defending team could stand anywhere up to the mark, meaning that the kicker had to retreat in order to make his kick. A mark made in a player's in-goal was deemed to have been made on his goal-line. Moreover, once the catcher offered to kick, the opposing side could charge.

The kick had to be taken by the player who had claimed the mark, though very early in the game's history it was possible for the kick to be taken by another member of the catcher's team.

What is the law that states that a kick in general play that goes dead in goal comes back for a scrum from where it is kicked, yet an attempt at a field goal (dropped goal) that goes dead in goal is restarted with a 22 drop out? Warren Stahlhut, Australia

Law 22.8, Ball kicked dead through in-goal, is the relevant rule. It states:

If a team kicks the ball through their opponents' in-goal into touch-in-goal or on or over the dead-ball-line, except by an unsuccessful kick at goal or attempted dropped goal, the defending team has two choices: to have a drop-out (on the 22-metre line) or to have a scrum at the place where the ball was kicked and they throw in.

So the scrum option is not available to the defending side when a kick from a penalty or field goal attempt has been made.

With regard to Andy Goode's short term contract with the Sharks I was wondering how many other England internationals have appeared in the Super 10/12/14 over the years? It does seem like quite an exclusive club! Tim Skepper, England

As you say, it is an exclusive club. Only three England Test players preceded Andy Goode. Julian White played one match as a replacement for the Canterbury Crusaders while playing with Hawke's Bay in 1997. He was called into the Crusaders' squad to cover for injured players and made his one appearance off the bench in a 26-26 draw with Natal in Christchurch.

Fellow England prop, Kevin Yates, made 19 appearances for the Hurricanes between 2000 and 2001. Another Hurricane, Riki Flutey, played 38 times between 2002 and 2005 before joining Wasps and qualifying for England on residency. Yates, like Andy Goode, had gained England experience before appearing in Super Rugby.

Who broke his ankle while running onto the pitch for an international match? Lorcan Howe, Bermuda

The player in mind is probably Jean Salut, a blond flanker of Russian ancestry who played for France when they won their first Grand Slam in 1968.

Picked to play against Scotland in Paris in France's opening Five Nations match of 1969, he featured alongside captain Christian Carrère on the official team photograph taken half-an-hour before kick-off, but twisted his ankle in the dressing room warming up. He was immediately given a pain-killing injection and prepared to take the field.

Then, as he was running onto the pitch at Stade Colombes, he went over on his ankle on the steps leading up from the tunnel to the field and fell heavily to ground. He was immediately withdrawn and France completely reorganised their pack.

They called up Jean Iraçabal as loose-head prop, moved original loose-head selection Jean-Michel Esponda to tight-head, transferred tight-head Michel Lasserre into the second-row; moved the original second-row Benoit Dauga to No.8 where Walter Spanghero had been due to appear, and finally plugged Salut's role on the side of the scrum with Spanghero.

So there were effectively five changes made to the side between leaving the dressing room and kick-off. As the late Clem Thomas told his readers in the Observer the next day, "Only the French would make a change of such complexity."

Scotland beat the Grand Slam champions 6-3, their skipper Jim Telfer scoring a late try. Salut recovered sufficiently to take the field against Ireland a fortnight later, but after playing in another French defeat never again appeared for his country.

Is there any player to represent more than two countries at separate World Cup tournaments? I think Jamie Joseph has represented two, (NZ & Japan). I also thought he played for the USA but maybe only in qualifying? Henry Cripps, England

No player has gone to Rugby World Cup finals tournaments for three countries. Jamie Joseph did so twice, with New Zealand in 1995 and Japan in 1999, but never represented the US Eagles at Test level.

Others who went to Finals tournaments with two different countries were:

Graeme Bachop - New Zealand 1991 and 1995; Japan 1999
Frank Bunce - Western Samoa 1991; New Zealand 1995
Adrian Garvey - Zimbabwe 1991; South Africa 1999
Patricio Noriega - Argentina 1995; Australia 1999
Matt Pini - Australia 1995; Italy 1999
Ilie Tabua - Australia 1995; Fiji 1999
Va'aiga Tuigamala - New Zealand 1991; Samoa 1999

How many players have been capped for three countries? Paul Johns, New Zealand

Excluding additional appearances for combinations (such as the British & Irish Lions, the South American Jaguars and the Pacific Islanders), the only known example of a player who has represented three different nations in senior 15-a-side international rugby is Enrique ("Topo") Rodriguez.

He played for Argentina between 1979 and 1983, for Australia from 1984 to 1987 and tells us that he also played for Tahiti in a one-off Test against France in Papeete on July 13 1981 (for which France did not award caps). In 2000, the IRB introduced a new qualification ruling that prevented players appearing for more than one country.

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