Rugby Coaching Blog | Professional Rugby Advice & Coaching

Should we pity the rugby referee? by David Clarke
August 11, 2009, 8:30 am
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, ELVs, Rugby Refereeing | Tags: , , ,

rugby referee
First, before I even start, we need to remember we are all in this together. Without each constituent part of the game, we would not be able to even venture onto the pitch.

Does that mean that refereees should be free of criticism? Of course not, and I don’t know many who would say otherwise. On the other hand there is a time and place for criticism, just as there is with the players.

I feel a certain amount of pity for referees at the moment. The new season in the Northern Hemisphere is almost upon us and watching the New Zealand club competition, I see plenty of interpretation.

There are new laws in place, and emphasis on others. The referees at all levels are under pressure to get these areas correct AND the normal laws of the game whilst the players and coaches are conspiring to outwit both the opposition and the referee.

In fact some referees will admit that some laws will be refereed hard in the first few months and then things will revert to the old ways.

That is not the only problem. Speaking to some coaches over the weekend, referees at the lower level are not so well informed. So whilst the coach and team might be playing to the current rulings, the poor old (and young) referee is struggling to cope with the old set of laws.

I suppose patience is a particularly useful virtue. It is a tough dish to swallow when you are losing a spicy game to some rotten decisions.

The most vital coaching area with the lineout ELVs by David Clarke

The most important lineout ELV has changed back to the old law of matching numbers.

The other lineout ELVs, which are here to stay, removed the anomalies from beforehand. The player standing in the traditional defensive hooker position cannot lift, the receiver has to stand two metres from the line until the ball is thrown in and lifting (as if it wasn’t before) is allowed.

So we will have a return to shortened lineouts and all the variations they provided. Some teams at the top end of the game were using them anyway, despite the opposition being able to have any amount of players in the lineout.

The principles of good lifting and throwing remain, but there are lots of opportunities to win the lineout AND to use the rolling maul from the lineout.

And I think it is the last prospect that makes winning the lineout well even more interesting. You cannot maul from poor lineout. You have to win the ball cleanly and so it is good to get into space to make an uncontested catch. Then you have to transfer the ball away from the catcher before he is pulled over.

Right then, back to the shortened lineout variations and developing the rolling maul.

Better Rugby Coaching

ELVs next stage on 13 May by David Clarke
May 1, 2009, 8:10 am
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, ELVs | Tags: , , , ,

This week, the ELVs came closer to becoming Ls.

The IRB rugby committee has ratified which laws it thinks should come into force and which shouldn’t. It is now up to the IRB council to confirm these on 13 May. It is likely they will become law for the start of the 2009 Northern Hemisphere season.

What’s in:
All the lineout laws EXCEPT any numbers.
5m at the scrum and the scrum half offside line.
Quick throw ins going backwards.
Passing into the 22m area invalidating the kicking compensation out of the 22m.
Corner flags not being part of touch.

What’s not in:
Pulling down the maul
Sanctions for rucks and mauls (that is free kicks for certain infringements)

What might be coming in:
Rolling subs in the community game
U19 scrum laws in the community game (that is the wheel and pushing distance laws)

Penn State Rolling Maul vs. Standford @ 2007 Nationals

Better Rugby Coaching

Is this most interesting new rugby law? by David Clarke

Did you miss the most interesting ELV?

Under the radar of the ELV debate a very interesting law might well be getting an airing in the new season. It is aimed at the community game and for those of us who of us who have used it before, it has lots of competitive implications.

Rolling substitutes has been “recommended to the Rugby Committee”. This has arisen out of the ELV debate last week.

I have used this system when I was a school coach of an Under 18 team. It meant we could take players to a game with a guarantee of some game time for them.

No need to hold a substitute back for an injury. I used to rotate a front row player, so each prop would get a least two thirds of a game.

For me this is exactly what the community game needs. It involves players at the amateur level who give up their time to play.

Of course it is open to abuse. Why not have a specialist kicker who can’t tackle to roll on and off when it suits you. But if you are a team who want to do this, then so be it. The greater good will prevail because more players will still be involved.

Better Rugby Coaching

IRB meeting today on development by David Clarke
November 20, 2008, 12:55 pm
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, ELVs, Rugby Coaching, Rugby Team Management | Tags: , ,

The IRB meet annually to discuss the game. This year’s meeting takes place today and is at the Lensbury Club in London. 

The IRB conference is focused on “development”. This list of topics makes for interesting reading:

  • The effect on the Participation by the Game going open (professional) in 1995 
  • Union strategies used in developing mass participation of the Game
  • Two aspects of development: Growth in participation versus Developing quality participation
  • Should there be a consistent set of Pathway Laws and at what age should IRB Laws be global?
  • The age when a player becomes eligible to play senior Rugby
  • The ideal age for players to commence contact elements of the game (e.g. scrums) and competitive matches
  • The effect the Experimental Law Variations have had on the participation level of the Game
  • What are the arguments for the development of Laws for High Performance/Performance Rugby separately to that of the participation level of the Game?
  • The most effective and consistent way to determine player numbers
  • Key health and safety issues for the participation level of the Game
  • What are the benefits of weight versus age pathways?
  • The inclusion of Rugby Sevens in the Olympics and participation
  • What role should the IRB perform in the areas outlined above?
  • At what age should age grade players be allowed to play professional rugby, and what criteria should be used to determine this entry?

    Mark Egan, the IRB’s Head of Performance and Development is leading the forum.

    “This forum will explore and debate a broad range of issues and challenges faced by the Unions on the ground. Ultimately, the participants are the practitioners, the people at the coalface of development; the people who help Rugby grow all over the world.”

    “Blueprints will emerge from the debate and some optimal forms of action will be identified. In addition there will be seminars on legal and judicial matters, the Laws of the Game and Playing Regulations, on playing surfaces and clothing, on tournaments and competitions, on training and education, medical as well as development funding.”

    Rugby referees are rare beasts by David Clarke
    November 17, 2008, 2:58 pm
    Filed under: Dan Cottrell, ELVs, Rugby Refereeing | Tags: , ,

    I have spent the last 72 hours picking my way through some seemingly obscure rulings in the IRB rugby laws.

    At the same time I have watched four internationals and refereed two games of rugby, plus fielded a couple of refereeing questions.

    My conclusion is this. We need rugby referees and we need to look after them.

    A “rare beast”? They are rare because of the abuse they receive and thus many are leaving the game. And they are beasts for lots of the connatations you would care to put about them, some good, some because we feel sorry for them and some because they are by no means perfect.

    Forget the “bias”, the incompetent, the outmoded and the “non scrum” expert charges. This is why we need to protect the rare beast:

    1. The ELVs are different in different parts of the world. How hard is that for an international referee!

    2. The interpretations of the ELVs are changing every couple of weeks.

    3. The definitions of the breakdown are blurred.

    4. The law enforcers are confused, so what hope the players.

    5. Too many ignorant people make sweeping remarks when they have poor knowledge and understanding of the game.

    6. The error count for players in the game is much bigger than the error count of most referees. The onus is on the referee though should he make even one mistake. Unfair?

    ELVs under attack by David Clarke
    October 28, 2008, 1:40 pm
    Filed under: Dan Cottrell, ELVs, Rugby Refereeing | Tags: , ,

    Here is an article from the Times Online website to have a look at.




    By R.J.P.Marks

    I think it is angry, but has some pertinent points.

    See what you think!