The Rugby Ref would like to respond to one particular questions from Chopper's email, (abbreviations in the original email have been expanded).
Dear Rugby Ref,
Would appreciate your views on how variations in
Southern Hemisphere / Northern Hemisphere referees
interpretation of the Laws of the Game should be managed.
In response The Rugby Ref would like to quote Paddy O'Brien, Head of IRB's Referee Board.
"Two hemispheres, the same laws.
There is common misconception that there are two sets of laws, one for Six Nations and European rugby, one for the Super 14 and Tri Nations. Some even go so far as to say that there is a law book for professional rugby and another for amateur. There is no difference in the laws at any level. However there is a difference in standards between referees, and a difference in players. I see that there is far more player buy-in at more junior grades of rugby. Generally, the players at this level want to play rugby and "cheat" a lot less.
At top levels, players are highly tuned, extremely well prepared athletes. They will bend the laws as far as possible. This inevitably impacts on how the game is refereed and managed.
As to perceived differences in hemispheres, I would put this down to two factors. The laws are the same, but the weather conditions are different when the tournaments are being run. Hard grounds in South Africa produce a different game to soaking, windy conditions at Twickenham.
It is also fair to say that different countries have a different style of rugby as well.
Even in the Northern Hemisphere, there are differences between nations. So, whilst the laws are equal across the globe, players will play in a different way, thus invoking different situations in which the laws are applied."