Tuesday 29 November 2011

The Rugby Ref's post match meal No 14

Sunday morning, U16's game.  The Rugby Ref queued up with 3 million kids.

Half a sausage in half a bagette..........no ketchup or mustard.  No onions, no plates, no serviettes.
The Rugby Ref could have done with something better after giving up a Sunday morning.  Nice pint of Guiness though.

The Rugby Ref gives this a dissapointing 1 out of 10. 
NB:  Score revised to 2 out of 10 following The Rugby Ref's meal No 19.

Friday 25 November 2011

The Rugby Ref's post match meal No 13

Big club, County U16 trials and The Ruby Ref is AR1.

So with it not being an adult match, and being a Sunday, The Rugby Ref wasn't expecting much by way of a meal.

Sausage roll and chips.  Doesn't sound great, but after what seems like 15 curry's in a row, it was fantastic.  The sausage roll was hot and tasty.  The chips were (for a change) not oven chips, but proper deep fried home made chips.

The Rugby Ref gives this meal 9 out of 10 because it was delicious.

Wednesday 16 November 2011

The Rugby Ref's post match meal No 12

Hooray....no more curry.

This is more like it.  Sausage caserole with potato, carrots, onion, gravy, pasta on the side, big hunk of homemade bread.  This is the best meal The Rugby Ref has been served so far this season.  What's more, this wasn't even a Saturday league match.  This was an U17 Sunday morning game.

Maybe the fact that this is a country club surrounded by farms has a bearing?

Well done all round.  9 out of 10.

The Rugby Ref's post match meal No 11

Another club, another curry, another 7 out of 10.

Thursday 10 November 2011

The Rugby Ref's post match meal No 10

Another club, another curry.  Usual choice of chips or rice to go with it.

But this one was just a little bit different to some of the other curries The Rugby Ref has been presented with.  Proper plate and cutlery (not paper and plastic).  The curry had lots of meat and flavour, but also lots of peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, onion and other vegetables, which showed more preparation and added to the culinary experience.  There was also garlick bread and bread and butter.

The Rugby Ref considers that just a little more care and effort was put into the preparation of this meal, and gives it 8 out of 10.  The highest score so far this season.

The Rugby Ref's post match meal No 9

Midweek Uni game under BUCS regulations.

This University are playing all their games at a local club, just round the corner from the University.  Their entire (and fantastic) sports complex has been rented out to the Olympic 2012 organisers as a training venue.

It seems the University brought their own food with them as it is the very same food served at their sports complex.  So jacket potatoe with a selection of fillings to choose from (beans, cheese, tuna).

It was nice, but not great, so The Rugby Ref gives this meal 6 out of 10.

Sunday 23 October 2011

Speed Rugby - a new board game

The Rugby Ref likes a good board game, even more so if it encourages his kids to come off their Xbox!  So when he was sent a new board game about rugby, it ticked several boxes.

The game is called Speed Rugby and the box looks like this:

The Rugby Ref says it's a board game, it's actually more of a dice game.  Inside the box (which acts as a dice tray) there are six dice and some counters to keep score with.

The game, like most good games, is very simple.  You throw five dice and this gives you the option of a Try, a TMO decision, a Drop Goal, a Penalty, or Play On.  You then throw the 'validation' die to determine the outcome of a TMO decisions or a Penalty.  That is your first half over and your opponent throws his first half dice in the same way.  You then reverse the process (opponent going first) for the second half.  Add the scores up and see who wins.  Blowing of The Rugby Ref's whistle while playing is optional!

That's why it's called speed rugby, it takes just a few minutes to play and is incredibly good fun.  Like The Rugby Ref said, the best games are usually the simplist.  The Rugby Ref really likes this game and highly reccomends it for rugby fans.

The Rugby Ref has just one critiscism, the game is essentially six dice.  You don't need all that packaging and you don't need the counters for scoring.  You can keep score on a bit of paper, or a beermat (standard rugby score values).

When The Rugby Ref was a kid he had a game called 'OwzThat', which was a cricket game in a tiny tin, consisting of two metal dice like rollers.  The Rugby Ref loved that game because it fitted in his pocket and could be played anytime, anywhere, in just a few minutes.

Speed Rugby could be just like OwzThat, put the dice in a little pouch, or small box, that fits in your pocket and schoolkids will take it to school to play in the playground; rugby players and fans will take it to the rugby club or the pub, to play while sat at the bar.

You can buy Speed Rugby from Amazon for about a tenner and there are several different versions available on the Speed Rugby website.

The Rugby Ref's post match meal No 8

Ho hum, another week, another match, another curry.

It was a very nice curry, tasty, full of meat, choice of chips or rice, but the observant reader may have noticed a theme developing here.  Four curries in a  row now.  Another 7 out of 10.

The rugby ref didn't bother with a photo, one curry looks very much like another.

Saturday 15 October 2011

Dan Lewis asks.........

Is a ref from France aloud [sic] to ref a game between Wales and France in a rugby world cup semi final?

Dan, Alain Rolland is a former Irish international and a member of the Leinster branch of Referees.

The Rugby Ref's post match meal No 7

This week the rugby was a bit one way with a scoreline of 12 points to 122 points, but a very nice chicken curry afterward, with lots of meat in it.  Another 7 out of 10.

Monday 10 October 2011

Picking up the ball in the ruck.

Hi again!
I'm not trying to find fault with the ref here, but I am wondering about players picking up the ball in the ruck and lunging forward.
If you are in the ruck, bound on to other players, then you are not allowed to use your hands. The common arrangement is for the half-back to stand behind the ruck, reach in, and get the ball. The half is not in the ruck, and is on his feet. Furthermore, he is standing behind the offside line (the last man in the ruck).
But sometimes someone in the ruck picks up the ball and goes forward. To me it is the last man, and when he releases his bind, the offside line moves ahead of him, and so he is entitled to reach down and pick up the ball.
Do I have this correct? Because I was looking at Ireland-Wales 50:31 of the 2nd half, and to me, the Welsh #5 is not the last man in the ruck, but he picks up and goes forward. Am I missing something?


You are absolutely correct, once a ruck has formed, players are not allowed to use their hands.  The scrum half is given special dispensation to put his hands in, to facilitate a better game of rugby.  But only once the contest for the ball is over.

As we have already mentioned, the rugby you see on the television, is not the same as the rugby you see down your local club; for a variety of reasons.

If a player at the back of a ruck reaches down to pick and drive, this may not be strictly legal, but if the ball is already won and the contest is over, then the referee may let it go in the interest of keeping the game flowing.  Remember we don't want to blow the whistle unless we have to.  You have to ask yourself "is it a clear and obvious offence that prevented a fair contest for the ball?"  If not, play on.

Sunday 9 October 2011

Bryce Lawrence - RWC QF

Can the panel provide an honest answer to the performance of Bryce Lawrence at the world cup quarter final. This would also have to include the asst refs. High tackles, hands in ruck etc etc. were SA fairly treated in this match or were there some other agendas here that the ref had to satisfy.
Rodney Watkins

Hi Rodney

Thanks for the questions, although there is just The Rugby Ref to answer it, no panel.

The Rugby Ref thinks that when Bryce looks back at the video of this game, he will probably acknowledge that he didn't have a "good day at the office".

However, he did treat both teams equally, he didn't affect the result of the game, and there was no hidden agenda.

So not his best peformance, but a fair result.

Monday 3 October 2011

The Long Throw In.

Saw this in the Canada - NZ game and there was no call.

The line-out had formed and Canada had the throw-in. The thrower made a long throw almost to the centre of the pitch and a back ran forward and caught it and proceeded up the field. Nothing wrong with that I believe.

But the throw was clearly not straight as the back caught it at least a couple of meters behind the line of touch. Was this just a missed call, or does the fact that the throw in went beyond the 15 m line allow this? I've reviewed Law 19, but could not note an exception.

The NZ commentators we get for the WC coverage were not amused!


Steve, thanks again for another great question. 

What we need to know is, was the throw straight to start with, as it passed along the line of touch, between the two sets of players?  The Rugby Ref is going to assume it was, since the referee didn't call it not straight?

As you correctly believe, the throw may go beyond the 15m line, but can it be called "not straight" at that point?  Lets look at the relevant law:

law 19.9(b)
Lineout ends. The lineout ends when the ball or a player carrying it leaves the lineout.

This includes the following:
When the ball is thrown beyond the 15-metre line, or when a player takes or puts it beyond that line, the lineout ends.

So once the ball has travelled past the 15m line, the lineout is over.  As long as it was more or less straight up to that point, we are fine.  So in the scenario you witnessed, the referee was correct to let it go.

Steve, don't pay too much attention to the commentators.  They are not hired for their law knowledge, although it wouldn't do them any harm to complete a referee's course would it!

Sunday 2 October 2011

The Rugby Ref's post match meal No 6

Out of county league match this weekend for The Rugby Ref.  Very nice club, good rugby setup.
The meal was another very nice curry, lots of meat and vegetables, lots of flavour, all accompanied by a nice pint.  The picture doesn't really do it justice.

The Rugby Ref gives this meal the same as last week; 7 out of 10.

Wednesday 28 September 2011

More Questions on the Ruck

Rugby Ref,

Thanks for the recent answers, particularly how materiality applies. Now for more on the ruck.

Watching Italy v US yesterday I noted several instances in breakdowns that I need some help interpreting.

Several times, by both teams, I would see a supporting player come into the breakdown and do what I will call a bridge over the ball (there is likely a common term for this?). By a bridge I mean the player was on hands and feet, arched over the ball. The player was clearly supporting some body weight on the hands. Now I thought that such a player had to stay on his feet, but neither the referee nor the opposing team seemed to pay any notice.

Thinking about these times a little more, I believe I would say that they were uncontested - there was no opposing player for the bridging player to bind on or push against.

Does the fact that these breakdowns are unopposed mean that "on the feet" does not apply? Or is this a case of materiality? If an opposing player decided to come forward and contest for the ball, would the bridging player be guilty of shielding the ball and preventing it from being played?

And another question about "on your feet". Many times I see a player enter a breakdown and at first he is on his feet. Then either an opposing player from the front tries to release, or push forward, and the player comes off his feet, or a teammate joins the ruck and knocks him down. How is this interpreted?

First of all Steve, please don't confuse TV Show Biz Rugby, with the Grassroots Rugby we all play on a Saturday.

"Bridging" or "Sealing Off" are illegal.  But as you rightly appreciate, they may not be material if; the ball is already won, or the opposition are not contesting the ruck.  It all comes down to The Rugby Ref's mantra of "only blow the clear and obvious".  Remember everyone is there to play and watch rugby, not to listen to your whistle.  So don't blow it unless you have to.  What The Rugby Ref will do however is have a word at downtime to tell the players to stay on their feet.

Regarding your last question, it's the same answer really.  If a player goes off his feet, it "may" not be his fault, but if it kills the ball he is going to get pinged, regardless of whether he jumped, or whether he was pushed!  But if the ball is still available, tell him to roll away and play on.

Sometimes when a player is penalised for "not rolling away", when he is on the wrong side of a tackle or ruck, he will complain that he was trapped and unable to move.  The Rugby  Ref's answer to that is, "then don't allow yourself to get into that position in the first place"!

Steve, what many of your questions highlight, is that the Laws of the Game are often a framework,  which the good referee uses to "manage" a game and get everyone playing rugby.  It's a poor referee that sees the Laws as Black and White, to be applied whenever they are broken.  This latter approach leads to a poor game of rugby and some frustrated players. 

Don't ignore the law; manage it!

Materiality.........what's that then?

Hi RugbyRef,

I am all questions tonight!

Some violations in some sports are automatic, no matter how minor they might be.

For example, in hockey, the tiniest amount of offside at the blue line is called, no matter if it might affect play or not.

I suspect that even the slightest indication of a knock-on or a forward pass, if detected, is blown down (or advantage) in rugby.

In contrast, we have the 45 possible calls at a scrum, as you have mentioned before, some of which might be called at every scrum.

Can you advise which technical calls in rugby are "always" called (or advantage played) as opposed to the calls which may be "managed" as trifling or not affecting the play of the game?


Hello again Steve, interesting question.

You are correct in thinking that some offences are always blown, or advantage applied.  As you have surmised the knock-on an the forward pass are always deemed to be material.

It is that word material, or more precisely "materiality", that governs what a referee may choose not to enforce.  For instance if a kick-off  is taken to the left, but the winger on the far right is in front of the kicker by half a yard, then he is having no material effect on the game and The Rugby Ref may ignore it for now.  The Rugby Ref will however, have a word with the winger at the first opportunity and let him know that his offside was noticed.

The Rugby Ref will never let players think he has either not seen, or ignored an offence.  A quick call of "seen it, play on", will give the players confidence that the referee is doing his (or her) job.

In normal weekend rugby (where physio's and doctors don't run onto the pitch to deal with every injury), anything safety related will be blown straight away.

Keep the questions coming Steve.

Preventing the Quick Throw

Hi RugbyRef,

Team A kicks the ball to touch. Team B wants to take a quick lineout. Team B is allowed to throw the ball in at the line of touch or anywhere between the LoT and their own goal line. And they can throw it in parallel to the LoT or at an angle back towards their goal line.

Is Team A, discouraging or defending against the quick lineout, allowed to run past the line of touch towards Team Bs goal line?

Is Team A allowed to be within the 5 meters and prevent or make difficult the quick lineout with raised arms, etc?


First of all Steve, let's get some terminology sorted.  The Rugby Ref thinks what you are refering to is a "quick throw-in", this is a throw-in taken, without waiting for a lineout to form.

Are Team A allowed to run past the Line of Touch (LOT) towards Team B's goal line?  Yes they are.

Are they allowed to discourage a quick throw by standing in the 5m channel?  No they are not.

They can stand outside the 5m line and wave their arms to their hearts content, but they cannot stand closer than that.

Law 19.2 (h)
At a quick throw-in, a player must not prevent the ball being thrown in 5 metres.  This is a Free Kick offence.

However, if the referee deems that a quick throw was never really on, then materiality comes into effect and The Rugby Ref might just give a warning to the offending player.

Hands In The Ruck

Hi RugbyRef,

Watching Romania and England there was a play that is an example of something I don't understand how to interpret.

Romanian player is tackled. English player, not the tackler, immediately moves in, on his feet, and begins to reach for the ball. Two supporting Romanian players, both on their feet, make contact with the English almost immediately and begin a ruck (I presume). The two English tacklers do a fair job of trying to roll away.

I believe it is fair to say that the Romanian player did not release as quick as he might have, and that was the call, "not releasing".

What I am wondering about though, is the English player. I know the first player in has a right to the ball. In this case, the supporting players were right there. Once they make contact, does that mean a ruck is formed and the English player can no longer play the ball with his hands?

So with respect to the timing ... even though the English player had only a fraction of a second to attempt the ball before the Romanians arrived, is that sufficient to award the penalty for not releasing the ball? Or can the English player continue to play the ball for a while after the

Romanians arrive before the ruck is considered to be formed, and so therefore any holding is truly not releasing?

Steve Delaney

Hello again Steve.  The Rugby Ref is sorry to be slow in replying to this and your other questions, but he has been busy all week refereeing and watching the RWC himself.

The answer to this questions is fairly simple.  A player who arrives and has his hands on the ball "before" a ruck forms, may then keep his hands on the ball and continue to contest for the ball, even if a ruck forms around or on him.  However if he loses his grasp on the ball once the ruck forms, then he cannot go in again for a second chance.

This exception to the "no hands in the ruck" law is covered here:

Law 16.4 (b)
Players must not handle the ball in a ruck except after a tackle if they are on their feet and have their hands on the ball before the ruck is formed.

Thanks Steve for a good question.

Wednesday 21 September 2011

RWC question from Steve Delaney in Newfoundland


I was watching Canada v France at the World Cup. At 38:50 of the first half Canada's #7 is called for not releasing the tackled player. Here's what I saw.

The French player is running forward and Canadas #7 tackles straight on.  The French player goes to the ground immediately. #7 remains on his feet, bent forward at his waist. He raises both arms out from his shoulders away from his body and the tackled player. He then reaches down towards the ball.  A supporting French player rushes in, and as the tackled player places the ball, it is hit by the supporting player's leg and bounces out to the side, where it is scooped up by a passing Canadian player. All this
happens in a second. The whistle blows.

To me, the #7 clearly released the tackled player and with purpose showed "space" between himself and the man on the ground, and he never left his feet. The referee is heard to say "Tackler Assist". But there was no other Canadian player involved or even close to the tackle. The commentators definitely heard the same thing, because they explained the rule that the second tackler must also release (although they failed to notice there was no second tackler).

Am I missing something in the interpretation? Maybe the referee meant to say simply "not released" instead of what he did say, although he seems to repeat it several times. But even then, I can't see a penalty. Or is this just a blown call?

Steve Delaney

Hi Steve, thanks for your question.  The Rugby Ref didn't see the incident in question, but lets examine your description.

The French player is running forward and Canadas #7 tackles straight on. The French player goes to the ground immediately. #7 remains on his feet,

What we have here is a tackle, without a tackler.  The French player (ball carrier) was held and brought to ground, so he was tackled.  Because the #7 didn't himself go to ground with the ball carrier, he is not a tackler, he is what is commonly known as a "tackle assist".  The difference between the two is that a tackler (having got to his feet and released the ball carrier) may play the ball from any angle.  A tackle assist must come through the gate, from his own side of the tackle.

The Rugby Ref can only surmise that this is why the referee called "tackler assist" and penalised the Canadian player.

Sunday 18 September 2011

The Rugby Ref's post match meal No 5

Schools rugby this weekend for The Rugby Ref, with a very fast, although ultimately one sided "Under 16" match at a private school.  Back to the masters common room afterwards for a very nice curry and a beer.  Lots of meat, lots of flavour, seconds were very welcome.

The Rugby Ref gives this simple, but delicious meal a 7 out of 10.

Sunday 11 September 2011

The Rugby Ref's post match meal No 4

The Rugby Ref had a last minute appointment Sunday.  The call came in Sunday morning for a referee that afternoon, and as Mrs Rugby Ref was at work, The Rugby Ref volunteered.  Ladies match, 1430 kick off.

The home ladies were very apologetic that there wasn't a hot meal.  Apparently the kitchen isn't available on a Sunday.  However one of the ladies who was injured had spent the previous day preparing pork batches, complete with apple sauce and mini scotch egg appetisers.  Somehow The Rugby Ref can't imagine the men's first team doing this!

So The Rugby Ref has to give a score.  Unfortunately The Rugby Ref can only score the meal itself and not the team spirit that went into  making it.  With that in mind The Rugby Ref scores the pork batch 3 out of 10.  Had it been a hot pork batch it would have been a lot higher.

Saturday 10 September 2011

The Rugby Ref's post match meal No 3

Well this weeks meal looked very appetising, but the taste didn't quite live up to the expectation. 

We had shepherds; or was it cottage; pie.  (The Rugby Ref never asked if it was beef or lamb.)  Along with a big chunk of lovely fresh bread.  The potato on the top, with a bit of cheese, was lovely.  Inside it was mince and vegetables, mostly peas and carrots.  It looked home made and the portions were very generous.

There was just something about the mince.  The chili in meal No1 was the same.  The mince was tasteless, which you usually find with very cheap mince.  Actually it wasn't totally tasteless; it tasted a bit like cardboard.

Now The Rugby Ref isn't going to castigate clubs for buying cheap mince.  They are working on a shoestring budget and need to cut corners where they can.  But it does affect the score The Rugby Ref will give them.

The Rugby Ref is going to score this meal one higher than the chili in meal No 1, because the vegetables were very nice and the potato and cheese topping was lovely, so The Rugby Ref scores this meal 6 out of 10.

Sunday 4 September 2011

The Rugby Ref's post match meal No 2

After seeing this week's meal, The Rugby Ref has revised the score for last week's meal, from a 4 to a 5.  Otherwise The Rugby Ref could end up with nowhere to go on the scores.

This weeks meal was a small burnt sausage in an over-sized bun with some onions.  This was accompanied by some "crispy" french fries.  The Rugby Ref had to smother them in ketchup to soften them up.  The whole thing came on a paper plate.  In it's defence the meal was hot and filling, and was partnered with a very nice pint of Guinness.

Using last weeks chili (5) as a benchmark, The Rugby Ref scores this weeks fare 4 out of 10.

While both meals so far have scored low, they were both gratefully received after a good hard game of rugby.  The Rugby Ref is however hoping for some higher scores as the season progresses.

Monday 29 August 2011

The Rugby Ref's post match meal No 1

After a couple of months off The Rugby Ref is back on the pitch.
First match of the new season was a (ahem) friendly!

To celebrate the start of the new season The Rugby Ref is replacing "The Rugby Ref's changing room" blog posts with a new series called "The Ruby Ref's post match meals"

So the first game was followed by a bowl of chili, a large chunk of fresh bread and some Indian appetisers.  All washed down with a pint of Guinness.

The chili was ok, but it was just chili, made with mince.  The appetisers were over cooked, but the bread was really nice.  Let's face it, after a rugby match any meal is good and a hot meal is even better.  It's difficult to give this meal a score as it is the first one, but based on past seasons The Rugby Ref is going to score it 5 out of 10.

Monday 30 May 2011

Pulling the rabbit out of the hat......

Pulling the rabbit out of the hat is usually something magicians do.  It comes as a big surprise.  Referees are not magicians, so we don't want to see them pulling any rabbits out of the hat.

By this The Rugby Ref means the Red or Yellow card that comes out of nowhere (like a rabbit from a hat).

The Rugby Ref is really a very nice person and likes to be pleasant and polite to the players.  The Rugby Ref has an escalation procedure for dealing with those who transgress on the rugby pitch.

Assuming the transgression has no material effect on play.
First of all The Rugby Ref will ask you nicely not to do it.
"Blue 7, you're straying offside at the rucks, please stay behind the backfoot."
"Red 6, stay on your feet at the breakdowns please."

If this advice is not followed, The Rugby Ref will tell you not to do it.
"Blue 7, backfoot now."
"Red 6, roll away now."

After the ask and the tell, or if the offence has an affect on play, comes the penalise.
Peep! "Penalty, Blue 7 offside."
Peep! "Penalty, Red 6 not rolling away."

If players fail to take note at this point The Rugby Ref is going to start thinking about what other tools he has in his management toolbox, because The Rugby Ref is not going to keep giving penalties all match and may have to escalate to a "Yellow Card" for repeat offending.

By the time a team receives a "Yellow Card" The Rugby Ref would not expect it to come as a surprise, he would not expect it to appear like the rabbit out of the hat.

Of course sometimes the "Yellow Card", or even the "Red Card", will come without any warning, but it should still not come as a surprise.  It is going to be in a situation where The Rugby Ref would hope everyone, including the players, would expect it.  For instance:

  • The stiff arm tackle.
  • Tackling the jumper in the air.
  • Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving him into the ground.
  • Retaliation.
  • Intentional offending - sometimes called deliberate and cynical play.
 All of the above 'may' result in a card, but if it does, it should not appear like the magician's rabbit.  The Rugby Ref has to make the final decision on what is a "Penalty", what is a "Yellow Card" and what is a "Red Card".  Sometimes this is based on the laws of the game, sometimes on referee's directives and sometimes the players reaction will tell you if a line has been crossed.

So next time your referee produces a card out of his pocket, have a think about what has already happened, have a think about any advice or warnings the referee has given out.  The Rugby Ref hopes you will come to realise that it's not appearing like a rabbit out of a hat; instead it's appearing as the expected finale to the act?

Tuesday 3 May 2011

The Rugby Ref's changing room, No 26.

Always save the best till last, that's The Rugby Ref's current motto.

Premiership club, where The Rugby Ref was 4th Official for the National Colts Cup final.

Greeted at the gate, "Park over there by the players Sir".
Shown to the dressing room. 
Clean and spacious with private showers, toilet, sink, mirror........and all the Gatorade you can drink.

The Rugby Ref gives this room a resounding 10 out of 10.

Thursday 21 April 2011

The Rugby Ref's changing room, No 25.

The Rugby Ref was an Assistant Referee on Wednesday evening for a Level 5 exchange referee; who did an excellent job in a fast and furious game.

The location was a current National One Club, former Championship Club.  So the facilities were excellent.  Plenty of space, showers, own toilet and mirrors.

However the Rugby Ref is going to dock one mark for them doubling up the Match Officials room with the laundry!  In one corner are two washing machines whirring away.

The Rugby Ref gives this room 9 out of 10.

Sunday 3 April 2011

BOGOF to Twickenham

The Rugby Ref is delighted to bring his readers a fantastic ticket offer, in conjunction with VoucherCodes.co.uk

London Wasps play Bath, at Twickenham, in the Aviva Premiership, on St George's day, Saturday 23rd April and we’ve just secured a brilliant 2-for-1 discount on tickets.

The Rugby Ref's fans can now get 2-for-1 on match tickets by quoting "VOUCHERCODES" when placing a booking through the Wasps ticket hotline on 0844 225 2990.

Any questions should be directed to VoucherCodes.

Monday 14 March 2011

The Rugby Ref's changing room, No 24.

Sunday morning enjoyable Under 17's game for The Rugby Ref.

The changing room was basic (to put it mildly).  Small room, nothing but a bench and a couple of coat hooks.  Still muddy from Saturday's match, litter on the floor, needs a lick of paint, needs cleaning.

The Rugby Ref gives this room a disappointing 3 out of 10.

Monday 7 March 2011

The Rugby Ref's changing room, No 23.

An out of county appointment on Saturday for The Rugby Ref, down to rural Berkshire.  Nice old club with very good facilities.

The referee's room was small, but clean and well maintained, with a mirror.  Although The Rugby Ref had to share the players showers, they were the best showers of the season, hot and plenty of power to every shower head.  much better than the dribble of water that some club's showers produce.  They were also some of the first showers The Rugby Ref has come across, that were clearly designed with the 2nd row in mind, rather than the scrum half !!

The Rugby Ref gives this room 7 out of 10.

Thursday 3 March 2011

The Rugby Ref's changing room, No 22.

On a very cold Tuesday night The Rugby Ref was Assistant Referee, running touch, at a level 5, U20 county cup match, which was held about 75 miles away from The Rugby Ref's own county.

A very nice club with excellent facilities.  The match officials changing room was large and warm.  It had it's own showers, toilet, sinks and mirrors.  The team of three were provided with a key for the door so that we could secure our own kit.

The Rugby Ref has no hesitation in giving this room 10 out of 10.

Thursday 24 February 2011

The Rugby Ref's changing room, No 21.

Last weekend, really nice club that The Rugby Ref always enjoy going to.  The Rugby Ref had to call an ambulance in the second half for a suspected snapped knee ligament.  Hopefully it won't be as bad as we all thought.

The changing room is a nice size for one or two ref's.  Always clean and well maintained, nice and warm with it's own radiator for The Rugby Ref to warm his shorts on.  No separate showers or washing facilities though.

The Rugby Ref gives this room 6 out of 10.

Sunday 20 February 2011

Trion:Z bracelet, the verdict.

The Rugby Ref has been wearing the Trion:Z dual loop bracelet for nearly three weeks now.  He has been wearing it day and night, not even taking it off in the shower.

The problem The Rugby Ref had, was knowing if any results were as a consequence of wearing the bracelet, or from other outside forces.  This particular problem has not been solved, so The Rugby Ref has decided to just chart any observations and let you, the reader, make your own mind up.

First thing first.  The Rugby Ref chose the England bracelet shown in an earlier post.  The bracelet looked great, although the white loop is now getting a bit grubby.  Despite wearing it in the shower and giving it a bit of a scrub, this hasn't helped.  So The Rugby Ref's advice, from an aesthetic point of view, is to go for a darker colour.  The Rugby ref would recommend the "Help for Heroes" bracelet.

Week one:  What a nightmare.  Every day The Rugby Ref had aching joints and muscles, every night The Rugby Ref had a disturbed night's sleep.  This was despite feeling ok up to that point.  The Rugby Ref has had many medical treatments where he has been told, "it will get worse, before it gets better".  Maybe this applies to the Trion:Z bracelet?

Week two:  Things got a lot better.  No more aching joints in the mornings, started to sleep like a baby, waking refreshed.  Is there something to this bracelet, or was last week just a coincidence?  Half way through this week the wrist The Rugby Ref was wearing the bracelet on started to ache, right round where the bracelet lies.

Week three:  Wrist stopped aching in the middle of the week, but still feel the odd twinge?  Feeling great in the mornings, even after a game, no aching joints or muscles, even The Rugby Ref's sciatica has faded a bit.

Over all thoughts:  The Rugby Ref is a scientific sort of person, Darwinist rather than Creationist.  Mrs Rugby Ref is a qualified Reflexologist and The Rugby Ref is convinced that works, so he is not against alternative medicine.  Does this bracelet work?  Well The Rugby Ref definitely feels fitter and more alert since the first week of wearing it.  Is this down to the bracelet?  Quite possibly.  Is it a placebo effect or a medical effect?  Who knows, does it matter?

Verdict:  Buy one and make your own mind up.  If it helps you, who cares why?  They look good, they might do you some good, so why not give it a go?  The Rugby Ref wont be taking his off for a while and will update you all if anything changes.

Trion:Z magnetic therapy bracelets

Wednesday 16 February 2011

And the winners are..........

Cody Kuxman of Wisconsin, USA
Oli Kellett of Victoria, Australia
Stuart Thorpe of West Midlands, England
Nick Curtin of Hampshire, England
Charlie Wilson of Warwickshire, England

Congratulations, your Trion:Z bracelets will be in the post shortly.

Wednesday 9 February 2011

Win a Trion:Z Dual Loop, Patriot bracelet.

To celebrate the Six Nations, The Rugby Ref and Trion:Z are giving you the opportunity to win one of 5 Trion:Z Dual Loop, Patriot bracelets. You get to choose from any of the following bracelets worth £19.99 each.

To enter just email your predicted result for the England v Italy game, to be played on Saturday 12th February.  The five entries nearest to the actual final score will win a bracelet.  Send your entry, together with your name, choice of bracelet, size and postal address to asktheref@therugbyref.co.uk  Bracelet sizes can be found at the Trion:Z website HERE.

In the event of a tie, winners will be chosen at random from the correct answers. 
The deadline for entries is 12 noon on the day of the game. 
Law 6.A.4 (a) The Rugby Ref is the sole judge of fact and of Law during this competition. The Rugby Ref will apply fairly all the Laws of this competition.

Monday 7 February 2011

The Rugby Ref reviews the Trion:Z bracelet.

Recently The Rugby Ref was given a Trion:Z bracelet to test and review.  This is the bracelet The Rugby Ref was given.

It looks good, but what does it do?  OK, here goes with the "techy" bit:

Magnetic therapy is commonly used within Complimentary and Alternative medicine to help with a wide range of health conditions, including pain relief and injury recovery. The influence of negative magnetic fields is believed to naturally improve the flow of blood and oxygen to areas of injury to facilitate healing and cell regeneration.  Magnetic Therapy is a complimentary and non-invasive natural therapy, deemed a ‘no health risk’ by the World Health Organisation.

Research has shown that ion concentrations in the air can affect and influence our health and behaviour, controlling our energy levels, mood and ability to concentrate.  It is widely believed that the human body absorbs Positive Ions from electrical and digital appliances on a day to day basis. Positive ions are said to interfere with the natural balance and can lead to tiredness, lack of concentration and muscle fatigue.

•  Negative Ions are generally abundant in nature through plants, waterfalls, rain storms and forests. These Ions unfortunately are depleted in urban areas as a result of modern technology.

•  The human body is said to absorb Positive Ions from electronic equipment, cell phones, electrical wiring, and machinery encountered in everyday modern life. Physical stress and exposure to Ultraviolet (UV) Rays also elevates the positive ion levels within the body.

Negative Ion Technology in Trion:Z Products
Trion:Z and Colantotte products are made with negative ion-releasing capsules or with "Mineon Health® Fibers", a unique textile with negative-ion producing minerals woven into the fabric.
The negative-ions in Trion:Z products are released in measurable and significant amounts at rates 50 to 100 times higher than similar products.

What does all that mean?  It means that the Trion:Z bracelet should help with moods, tiredness, concentration and muscle or joint pain.  So if it works, it's a must have for The Rugby Ref.  But does it work?  The Rugby Ref is a scientific and practical person, but he is also open minded and knows that many complimentary medicines have astounding effects.

The Rugby Ref has been wearing his Trion:Z bracelet for a week now, he will continue to report over the coming weeks on any effects.

To celebrate the Six Nations, The Rugby Ref and Trion:Z are giving you the opportunity to win one of 5 Trion:Z Dual Loop, Patriot bracelets.  You get to choose from any of the following bracelets worth £19.99 each.

Keep checking back to TheRugbyRef.co.uk for details of how to enter.

Friday 4 February 2011

The Rugby Ref's changing room, No 20.

Wednesday afternoon, school Under 17's game.  But they played at their local Rugby Club because all the school pitches had been taken over for football...........!

Not a bad changing room, The Rugby Ref can't quite make his mind up if the sign on the door is complimentary or not?

The room was warm and comfortable, has a mirror, but no other facilities.  It's a pity The Rugby Ref had to share it with half a dozen muddy and smelly sub suits!

The Rugby Ref enjoys visiting this club though, as they are always very hospitable.  The Rugby Ref gives this room 5 out of 10.

Monday 31 January 2011

Mark McEwan emailed "asktheref".


One of those niggly questions I've always wanted to ask. How do you accurately decide the mark that the conversion kick will be taken from? I know it is in parallel with the place the ball was grounded by the try scorer, but is there a set distance away.


Hi Mark

The simple answer is 'no', there is no set distance.

For a conversion attempt the kicker may place the ball anywhere on a line that runs from the goal line, at the place the try was awarded, back down the pitch, parallel to the touchline.  He can go as far back along that line as he wishes. 

For a penalty kick at goal, the kicker may kick from the mark, or anywhere along a line that runs back through it.  One thing to note here, is that the defence must stand 10m back from the mark, not 10m back from where the kicker elects to take the kick from.

Thanks for your question.
The Rugby Ref

Sunday 30 January 2011

Question from Kevin Morrissey in Dubai.

The Rugby Ref has received a question from Kevin which asks:

Can a team make a substitution at penalties. ?

Simple question so many versions: My understanding is that the team who was awarded the penalty may make a substitution with the permission of the Ref as they decide how long the ball is dead, one assumes that if they make a sub, then the opposition may also sub but may not initiate it. Normally it would appear that subs at a penalty is a no-no.
Comments/help please

Well Kevin, the law is very simple on this, it says:

Substitutions may only be made when the ball is dead and with the permission of the referee.

There is also a clarification in law on this subject:

Ruling 2-2007 (extract)
Date 12 March '07

1. A penalty kick is awarded to White team. Before the kick is taken, can White team make a substitution?

Ruling of the Designated Members of the Rugby Committee
A substitution can only be made when the ball is dead. A referee must not let a player rejoin the match until the ball is dead. The ball is dead when the ball is out of play. This happens when the ball has gone outside the playing area and remained there, or when the referee has blown the whistle to indicate a stoppage in play, or when a conversion kick has been taken.

In the case outlined above, the ball is dead, and therefore the answer to the question is in the affirmative.

What would The Rugby Ref do?
Well, if the attacking team want to take a quick tap penalty, then The Rugby Ref is not going to allow anything to prevent this or slow it down.  This includes the defending team throwing the ball away, the defending captain wanting to ask a question, or the defending team wanting to make a replacement or substitution.
However, if the attacking team want to make a replacement or substitution, then they are allowed to do so as the ball is dead when The Rugby Ref blows his whistle for the penalty.  If they decide to make a replacement or substitution, then the defending team would also be allowed to do so.

Wednesday 26 January 2011

The Rugby Ref's changing room, No 19.

Wednesday afternoon, Level 9 game at a top university.  Excellent sports centre with an excellent referees' changing room.  plenty of room, nice and warm, private showers at the end.

The Rugby Ref had to share with a rugby league referee, but you can't mark them down for that!

This would have been a 10 out of 10 but for a couple of things.  There is no sink or mirror and The Rugby Ref is a vain creature; and the showers were cold, despite running them for a good 5 minutes.  So The Rugby Ref gives this room 9 out of 10.

Monday 24 January 2011

The Rugby Ref's changing room, No 18.

The location of the ref's changing room at this club is unlike any other.  You go into the showers, then through a sort of 3/4 barn door into the referee's room.  Having said that, it is large and clean, has two sinks, a mirror and it's own toilet........and not far to go to the showers!

The Rugby Ref gives this changing room 6 out of 10.

Wednesday 12 January 2011

The Rugby Ref's changing room, No 17.

This weekend The Rugby Ref was at a rugby club that shares it's facilities with a football club, a cricket club, netball, golf and bowls.  So you would think they would have a small room for the referee/umpire/match official.  But they haven't. 

"Not sure where we are going to put you ref, footballers are in there, try this one."

The room was not bad.  Large, warm and The Rugby Ref was undisturbed.  But there was no separate shower.  The Rugby Ref gives this changing room 4 out of 10.

Monday 3 January 2011

The Rugby Ref's changing room, No 16.

The Rugby Ref ran touch this weekend for a Cup Game.  The club is very forward thinking as they have referees' changing rooms available, for both male and female referees.

The changing room had plenty of space for a team of three referees.  There was a shower and a toilet, just for referees and we were all offered a cup of tea on arrival.  Unfortunately the shower only had two temperatures, very hot and even hotter.  Still, once the first layer of skin was burnt off you didn't feel much pain!

The Rugby Ref gives this changing room 9 out of 10.

Urban Myth No 3 "I'm the Captain, I have the right to speak to you".

Referees' hear this a lot.  "But I'm the Captain.............."

So does the Captain have the "right" to speak to the referee?  No he doesn't.  However referee's recognise that it makes for a better game if the referee works "with" the captain, for the good of the game.

Before tossing the coin at the start of the game, The Referee will have a little chat with both captains.

"Captains.  Discipline is down to you; you manage your players, I will manage the game".

"Captains.  Players play, referee's ref.  Make sure you don't get the two mixed up.  Any questions through you please".

"Captains.  I don't want to hear players appealing for perceived offences.  If I hear it, you hear it, so shut them up from the off.  If you can't do that I will have to and my options are very limited".

As you can see, the words vary, but the message is the same.  When players start appealing for offences there are several problems.
  • They only appeal for what the other team do, never themselves.
  • It can stop the referee playing advantage, or waiting to see what develops (in other words it can slow the game down).
  • If the referee gives the penalty, it looks as if he is reacting to the appeal.  This means the other team think they can get a penalty by appealing.  An Irish parliament ensues.
None of those help the game.  The Rugby Ref often has teams that like to give him a commentary, he does not allow it to continue.  What The Rugby Ref always sees, is that when players stop appealing and start playing, they always play better.

So back to the captain.  You will all have heard referee's say "questions through your captain please".
The Rugby Ref gives the captain permission to ask a question, to which he will give the courtesy of a reply.  But it must be a question (what was that last penalty for please Sir?) and it must be at the appropriate time (not when a quick penalty is on).  This is not an invitation to debate a decision, nor is it an excuse for a captain to berate the referee.

If the captain fails to follow these simple guidelines, then the referee can withdraw the permission, if the captain still fails to follow, then he can be sent off.  Yes, that's right, the captain can be sent off for speaking to the referee, especially if it is in an inappropriate manner, or at an inappropriate time.  This is not something that the referee will do lightly, but the option is there.


(s) All players must respect the authority of the referee. They must not dispute the referee’s
decisions. They must stop playing at once when the referee blows the whistle except at a
kick-off or at a penalty kick following admonishment, temporary suspension, or send-off.
Sanction: Penalty kick

You will notice it says "All" players.  No exception is made for the captain.  As this is under the Foul Play Law, the following applies:


(a) Any player who infringes any part of the Foul Play Law must be admonished, or cautioned
and temporarily suspended for a period of ten minutes’ playing time, or sent-off.

So to summarise; the captain is given special permission to speak to the referee.  This is not a right under law and the permission can be withdrawn if it is abused.

Urban Myth No 3..............Busted!