Rugby Coaching Blog | Professional Rugby Advice & Coaching

New style refereeing for a fairer contest? by David Clarke
March 31, 2010, 9:44 am
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby Refereeing | Tags: , , , , , ,

Writing in this month’s International Rugby Coaching, Paddy O’Brien, the IRB referee supremo, believes that rugby will be back to its old ways of a fairer contest.

He identifies five areas where he has got his referees to work harder at applying the law:
1. The maul at the lineout: no blocking.
2. Offside at the ruck.
3. Rolling away from the tackled played and/or releasing him to play the ball.
4. Better scrum engagement.
5. Keeping onside from the kicks.

Early evidence suggests that there is more space for attacking teams, but they are still adapting to the new regimes. Referees too are making a slight transition. The laws are not new, just being more heavily emphasised.

As Paddy says, one metre or one second of extra space and time can make all the difference in the game of rugby.

Better Rugby Coaching


6 Comments so far
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Better scrum engagement is definatly needed to be looked at. The amount of times I watched scrums collapse during the 6 nations was criminal.

Comment by roksport

I would like to know why, for the last few years, the IRB has allowed referees (of all levels now) to ignore the basic existing laws relating to the scrum, ie the crooked feed, and concerted driving before the ball is in? These very simple things have had a huge and negative impact on the game in terms of ball in play, safety, and removing the hooking contest. I beieve it stems from a desire to get the scrum over before anything bad happens, but that attitude is dodging the issue and ruining the game. The laws exist to get this right easily, so why are they ignored? I totally agree with Brian Moore on this one!
John L

Comment by John Lovell

I’d like refs to look at the initial contact and when the tackled player releases the ball. The emphasis is on the tackler at present which in my opinion is wrong, a tackled player going to ground should release the ball, but this is becoming ‘place the ball and hold it there’. Bring back unofficial rucking of the player obstructing play (the tackled player)and this would not happen! It would also reward (bravery of) the tackler, noticeably absent at present.

Comment by Bazza

I think that there needs to be a ballance between allowing the tackled player to set the ball for the next phase and releasing the ball when tackled. My take on the new interpretaions is that the referees are a little too quick to penalise the tackled player which prevents continueity stops play. A little more latitude for the tackled player please.
But, my biggest bug is the illegal cleanouts by the attacking team at the breakdown. Too often, players not directly over the ball are cleaned out, grabbed or retarded in some way by the attacking team thereby preventing them from participating in the ruck or maul.
Often times this is obviously done by design to clear a path for the next ball carrier. It is very difficult for the referee to see this illegal play but the assistant referees can keep an eye on what happens 5 metres away from the breakdown and clamp down on this type of play.
Some nations teams have turned this in to an art form which they can’t be blammed for because it has not been effectively policed.

Anyway, thats my “two bobs worth”
Great to chat rugby!

Comment by Brett Lappan

I believe that the new interpretations around the tackle area can only improve the game. When applied it proves cleaner and definately quicker ball. It makes me laugh when we talk about ‘New interpetations’ a few years ago we saw a video showing Eric Rush demonstrating releasing the tackled player and continuing with play. “a case of going back in order to go forward”

Comment by ERIC STOKES

I hope you are right Eric.
On the up side, in this years super 14, the ball appears to be coming out at the breakdown quicker.
On the downside, I find that I am wondering what the ref is going to call. Not releasing the ball or the player?
I still prefer just a second or 2 to allow the tackled player time to set the ball back and the tackler to complete the tackle. Otherwise, the refs become too involved and can have too much influence on the game.
If it is too quick, too many rash decisions can be made.
Was the player tackled or not?
Did he release immediatly or not?
Sometimes I think just a little time needs to be allowed both ways and then the decision can’t be argued.

Comment by Brett

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