Goal from mark
A goal from mark is a former scoring move in rugby football. It occurred when a player "marked" the ball by making a fair catch and shouting "mark". From this position the player could not be tackled. The player then had the option of a free kick, which could be taken as a place, drop, or tap kick. The scoring move, however, continues as the set shot featuring heavily in Australian rules football or the unusual fair catch kick in American football. In the modern rugby codes, including rugby union and rugby league, a goal cannot be scored from a free kick. Rugby league no longer has any form of 'mark', and marks in rugby union are now limited to inside the 22 mark of the field.
The points awarded for a goal from mark initially varied between three and four points as point scoring rules evolved in rugby. In the 1900s, the goal from mark was fixed at three points and it remained set at this amount until the rule's eventual abolition. The goal from mark was a goal-scoring option distinct from the drop goal. The latter was worth four points in rugby union until 1948 when its value was also reduced to three points. The goal from mark was removed entirely from rugby league in 1922.
The goal from mark was seldom seen for a number of reasons: the kicking team would have had to make the mark comfortably within range of the opponents' goal, usually implying a gross error on the part of a defending player. The player making the mark would presumably have considered a drop goal attempt less likely to succeed than goal from the mark. The defending team were allowed to advance as far as the mark, meaning that the kick had to be attempted from still further away, and were moreover permitted to charge the attempted kick (as a penalty kick may not be). A place kick could be attempted under obsolete laws that disallowed a charge attempt until the ball, in possession of a placer, was allowed to touch the ground; otherwise the ball had to be drop-kicked. This mode of scoring was valid until the 1970s and was very rare.
The goal from mark was permitted in rugby union games until the free-kick clause was added to the Laws of Rugby Union in 1977, which stipulated that a player could call a mark only in the defender's 22-metre area and only for a "non-scoring" free kick. This clause was applied to northern hemisphere games from September 1977 and for southern hemisphere games from January 1978 and remains part of the rules.
- John Griffits. "Goals from marks, numbering of players and Sunday internationals". www.espnscrum.com.
- Rugby Union - ESPN Scrum - France v Romania at Beziers, Dec 11, 1971