Sunday 23 June 2013

Rugby Contact

These days a lot is made of defense tackling with no arms - ie shoulder charging the offensive player or simply running into him.  But why is it not an offence if the attacking player simply turns his shoulder into the defender?  
Also a hand off in the face is a valid attacking tactic but if a defender pushed his hand into the attackers face then he would be penalised.
Why the disparity?  For me the attacker should not be allowed to run shoulder first into a defender as he is likely to injure him.
ThanksSteve Ditchburn


The difference is that a tackle is an offensive move and the law states how it should be done safely.  The tackler is driving into the ball carrier, the momentum is with him.  The ball carrier is merely defending himself and has no energy or momentum going into the collision.  It's all about safety.

The Rugby Ref

Wednesday 12 June 2013

Penalty Try........?

Hi Rugby Ref,when Morahan made the tackle on the line he seemed to knock the ball forward out of Farrell's grip.Is this not a deliberate knock on? Should it have been a penalty try and if so why didn't the TMO say something?
Thanks for a great blog!

Hi Bob

The Rugby Ref watched this incident in real time and then again in slow motion.
In real time, Farrell's body language said he had made a mistake.
In slow motion it was obvious to The Rugby Ref that Farrell had knocked on prior to Morahan sticking his hand in.
The Rugby Ref agrees with the TMO that the knock on by Farrell was the first offence, everything else is immaterial.
The Rugby Ref has heard a few appeals for a penalty try, but genuinely feels that would be a very unexpected result.
The Rugby Ref believes that (in line with current thinking) offences should be clear, obvious and expected.  That doesn't mean the referee should pander to the crowd, but it does mean he shouldn't stick himself out on a limb.

Thanks for the question Bob.
The Rugby Ref

Sunday 2 June 2013

What is "the arm"?

At a recent referee course there was some discussion as to what constitutes “the arm” when considering a knock-on under Law 12.  Some there – with way more experience than I – suggested that it was technically from the elbow down to the wrist. I cannot find a definition of “the arm” in the Laws, but – potentially confusingly – there is reference to “whole arm” when discussing binding.  Any thoughts?
Owain Stone

Let's not get too hung up on something so simple.   We all know where your arm is, it's from your shoulder to your wrist.  To suggest otherwise is a bit daft!

Ask these 'more experienced' referees to quote the law that says it only applies to the lower arm?

The Rugby Ref

Does it matter?

The incident just before half time has no doubt created a lot of discussion about the accuracy of the decision and the exact law in place, but I would be interested in the views with respect to game management !
I have been a mini / junior and senior ref ( at low level in the UK ), and one of the aspects that assessors would often say to me is 'materiality' ! 'Did it really matter', the classic situation being not straight at the lineout if the opposition do not compete !
He ( the ref ) knows the ball went straight out, but everyone, Northampton, Leicester, the crowd, the commentators ( the dancing girls !!! ) all expected and reacted as if it was half time !
In your opinion would the game have been managed better if the ref had just blown for half time ( with a "kick was straight out, scrum offence, time up, half time" points to tunnel ...  ) ?
Did it really matter that the kick went 6 inches ( or whatever the distance ) past the touch line ?
PS: Lets not even, for the sake of Brian Moore's sanity, raise the not straight at the scrum not being pinged !!  :-)

Hi Paul

We are talking about the Final between Tigers and Saints.

What you have to ask yourself is "did it have a material affect on the game?"  The answer is "Yes it did", because had the referee blown for half time, ignoring the law, then the opposition would have been denied their right to play the ball, and as it turns out denied the opportunity to score three points.     Getting the law wrong and denying a point scoring opportunity would have been a critical error for the referee.

Taking your example of the line out, you also have to ask yourself "why are they not competing?"  Is it because the referee is not policing the not straight, therefore they have given up competing?

Materiality and letting he game flow is not an easy skill to master.

The Rugby Ref