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George Ford questions referee decision only to get a sarcastic response

I am a ref, but I'm not clever enough to come up with Carley's kind of response off the cuff...I tend to take what I have now dubbed the "stroudos-lite" approach: I'd tell him that I made the call, and should he choose to challenge like that again I would penalize him. With the guys I have the pleasure of refereeing, that's usually enough but the few times that someone continues to argue, I go "full-stroudos". I have no qualms following through on a promise to penalize!

2 Weeks, 6 Days ago

George Ford questions referee decision only to get a sarcastic response

Except Ford didn't "ask" the ref anything - He went up and told the ref "my hands were there". A proper, respectful way of asking would start with an apology for flailing his arms around and reacting poorly to a call, then be followed up with something with containing a question mark and a please, eg: "Sorry sir, I got frustrated. Could you please let me know why you ruled that pass forward? I thought I had released it backwards".

Of course, for something as simple and straightforward as a forward pass, there's no point even asking, because the ref will just tell you he saw you throw the ball forward - even if he uses more words. I could justify asking for a law interpretation after a breakdown penalty or something that actually requires clarification, but after a forward pass or a knock-on there's no value in asking for clarification.

Ford is a professional and should know better.

2 Weeks, 6 Days ago

World Rugby CEO confirms full investigation into Craig Joubert behaviour will take place

Given that CJ was a lot closer and had better line of sight than the ARs, I don't think consulting them would have done a lick of good - they probably didn't see it either.

Joubert gave a penalty because he didn't see it touch the Aussie, and therefore though it was a penalty.

1 Month, 5 Days ago

'Penalty was the wrong call' says World Rugby review of Craig Joubert decision

Hi Larry,
The Scot gathering the ball did in fact prevent the Aussies from gaining advantage, even if he released it right after: he's prevented them from playing the ball as they would have it, instead making them play it a second or two later, and from a position that he dictates (and that is less favourable for the Aussies).

As to the Assistant referee debate, it's likely that the Assistant referees missed it too - it was a brief touch and there were bodies in the way, not to mention a decent distance between the sideline and where the play happened.

1 Month, 5 Days ago

Alesana Tuilagi banned for 5 weeks for 'kneeing' Japanese tackler

I'm sure the people hired as citing commissioners would love the banning of poor technique, but that was offered as tongue-in-cheek. It did make me think though...

Do we know how citing commissioners are selected and remunerated? Is it a panel of people identified as citing commissioners and paid on a per-match basis, are they contracted on a retainer for the year/event/etc., or do they get paid per ban?

Do they have a set policy or standard under which they observe games?

It seems to me that as long as they have been around, they've been a source of consternation and inconsistency to the rugby community.

1 Month, 2 Weeks ago

Alesana Tuilagi banned for 5 weeks for 'kneeing' Japanese tackler

As a player, I always used to lift my knee up while in the air competing for the high ball. Now it appears that I have been lucky my entire playing career to not get binned, cited, and banned for the few dozen times when my leading knee bumped another player!

And now that I'm a referee, I'm going to be extra careful that no player is permitted to move their knees up and forward while running...such disgraceful and reckless actions are the scourge of the modern game!

In all seriousness, if the Japanese player had tackled properly ("spine in line, bands of steel, and cheek to cheek" as my old coach used to say) then this would all be a non-issue. To my mind, there are two ways to get rid of such poor tackling: either cite the guy for deliberately executing a tackle dangerous to himself (he's got a duty of care to himself, etc.) or just let things like this happen - I'll bet that when the would-be tackler was watching the game tape, he promised himself he would never do that again.

1 Month, 2 Weeks ago

VINE: Fight for ball results in US College rugby player slammed

You know, a smart player would have just waited for the other guy to release him - according to the player himself, he knew there was advantage; based on the reaction of the players around the ruck, the whistle had gone and the penalty given. Pretty safe bet that your team would benefit more from you leaving the other guy alone.

As to your question:
"Now my question is how do I put a player down if I'm the ball carrier and his arms are locked on my neck and he's already on my shoulders?"

I have a simple solution - one I use every time I pick up something and need to put it down: reverse what you did to pick the bloke up. Come on now: bend your knees, lean slightly forward, and now that his feet are on the ground, let him go. Easy, isn't it?

4 Months, 14 Hours ago

Courtney Lawes lays into another unsuspecting flyhalf, this time Jules Plisson

Two points:
First, when I was playing (a mere two years ago) you made sure that if you were passing you did so in a position to minimize damage to yourself. We understood that if we wanted to be flatter and closer to the defense when we made the pass, we'd be at a higher risk of getting hit. So first and foremost, Plisson should have been expecting some sort of contact.

Second, I have never been a forward, but I know that as a centre/winger/fullback I would regularly approach the line at close to top speed to cut down space and time. You don't see it all that often at first receiver because typically your forwards don't have the kind of pace needed to get there while the ball is still in the 10's hands. Lawes clearly does have the pace, and is willing to use it. Just because few other forwards can do it doesn't mean it's illegal when Lawes does - his freakish combination of athleticism and size means that he forces fly-halves to play the game differently. To draw a parallel, remember when Wilkinson could knock over penalties from anywhere with ease? He forced teams to be very careful not to give up penalties within 60m of their goal-line. No one complained, and now most international kickers can hit penalties like that. I'll bet in 10 years we'll see numerous athletic locks, and fly-halves taking passes deeper than they do now!

8 Months, 1 Day ago

Referee decisions in spotlight as New Zealand prove too good for England

Vagrant, there was no "double-movement" for Cruden's try. Law 15.5 (c) specifically states that "a tackled player may release the ball by putting it on the ground in any direction, provided this is done immediately."

While the definition of "immediately" can be debated, in this case it is pretty clear that Cruden's first action after landing and stopping is to reach out and ground the ball on the line. That, in combination with the fact that there was no English player attempting to compete with the ball means that his actions have not contravened the law quoted above, nor have they prevented an opposing player from attempting to play the ball. The decision was correct: try awarded, and no need to check with the TMO.

1 Year, 2 Weeks ago

Otago score unbelievable set piece try in opening round of ITM Cup

I had to watch that a half dozen times to figure out what the heck happened! Great set piece.

1 Year, 3 Months ago