Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Chris Pearson wants to settle an argument?


Can you settle a long running argument please?

Does the video referee actually watch the game and know the score, or
is he locked away and only have access to the footage/incident, as and when the
need for a decision comes up?
Chris Pearson

Hi Chris

Thanks for the question. 

The video ref, or Television Match Official (TMO), to give him his full title, sits in one of the broadcasters OB trucks, somewhere outside the stadium, usually in a car park.  From there he would watch the match as a television feed, which would allow him to become familiar with the different cameras and where they are situated.  This allows him to ask the technicians for specific camera shots when required to adjudicate, by the referee on the pitch.

So the answer to your question is "no", he is not locked away in a darkened room, waiting to be "let out"!

The Rugby Ref.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

A question on Rucks.......or TV.......or Materiality?

Dear Rugby Ref,

I am a little confused by the current trend of players pulling other off their feet in the ruck. It usually goes something like this: Tackle made, perfectly legitimate ruck forms with two players in contact over the ball and on their feet, then the teammate of the tackled player judo-throws his opposite number onto the ground. Presumably this is so the defender cannot try to play the ball as he would now be off his feet. Surely this is collapsing the ruck which is not allowed by the LOTG? Although this tactic completely goes against my instincts as a ref, should I be coaching my players to do this as it is effective. Or, should I not allow it and pre-brief teams that I ref that I don’t care what they see on the TV it isn’t allowed when I’m reffing??

Thank you, love the blog, keep it up!



We have covered this aspect of rugby (in different areas) before.  You mustn't confuse the rugby you see on TV with real grass roots rugby.

Your final sentence sums it up.......as The Rugby Ref always says to players "when you are on TV, you can do what they do.....until then we'll stick to the laws of the game".

Martin just remember, is the offence material or not?

Saturday, 7 April 2012

A question from Jannie Koegelenberg

Jannie asks "Why are scrum halves allowed to put the ball in towards their scrum, under the hookers feet?"
Well Jannie, normally when people ask this question they say "why are scrum halves allowed to feed the ball into the second row!".

The simple answer is they aren't allowed to do that.  The law states:
"The scrum half must throw in the ball straight along the middle line, so that it first touches the ground immediately beyond the width of the nearer prop’s shoulders."

So what The Rugby Ref thinks you are really asking is "why don't referees penalise the Not Straight?"

Most referees at grass roots level will penalise the "not straight".  Sometimes though the referee is distracted by other more important safety issues, such as binding, dipping and lifting. 

Why don't they penalise it on the television?  The Rugby Ref doesn't have an answer to that one, but has been told in the past by top referees that "there are many things to look at in the scrum and the feed is one that is a way down the list, below important safety considerations".

That is not really a satisfactory answer, as ignoring the feed means that any prospect of a contest for the ball at that point is removed.  Leaving just a pushing contest.  The Rugby Ref has noticed of late though that more top level referees are now policing the put in more often.  Maybe the tide is turning back?