A very sensible suggestion

But we’re also keen that players, especially Academy players, do refereeing courses to enhance their understanding. The RPA has even talked about making this compulsory for young players.

Refereeing union is bloody difficult.

Getting the players to understand how difficult sounds like a damn good idea to me.

\”Compulsory\” always worries me. But a general expectation that anyone playing professionally should be, at the same time, working towards a certain level (obviously, not entirely all the way to test level) of refeering competence seems reasonable.

15 thoughts on “A very sensible suggestion”

  1. Soccer players, commentators and “analysts” seem to glory in ignorance of their rules.

    Managers behave as if they are ignorant too, but they may be feigning.

  2. Yes if we want players insisting in the heat of the moment that their understanding of the rules is superior to the refs, this is a good idea.

  3. Warren (and possibly Dearieme?), this is about rugby union, where backchat to the referee results in 10 metres of hard won territory being given away. Hence there is very little back chat.

    I don’t watch the round ball code much, but the odd time I have seen it the spinelessness of the officials amuses me.

  4. This is mainly about the scrum. Refereeing Union is indeed difficult, but that isn’t the issue. The players know that. I have noticed a significant evolution in my own (pack) play. Now I can’t get around as fast as I used to, my expertise in deceiving referees is more developed and more important. They don’t talk of the ‘dark arts’ of ruck, maul and scrum for nothing.

    Players don’t need refereeing courses. They’re doing it on purpose. Instead, referees need to stop accepting so many liberties, especially (weirdly) at international level. It’s the referees who need to go on courses, to learn to blow the bloody whistle if a prop binds on someone’s arm, or the ball isn’t put in straight.

  5. The problem is not that the game is difficult to referee, it is that it is so damned complicated and the rulebook would give War and Peace a run for its money. This is especially true at the scrum, where nobody knows what the hell is going on and following a collapse the referee often just makes something up and awards the decision accordingly.

    They need to simplify the game and trim down the rule book, but that has already been done over 100 years ago hence we now have rugby league. I don’t think it’s a problem that will ever be solved in RU.

  6. The IRB also needs to insist props wear shirts that can actually be gripped; it’s no bloody wonder props don’t bind onto the shirt if they can’t hold onto the damn thing. I played for my little brother’s team over the Xmas break and was given a shirt that may as well have been painted on, except when I got up from the bottom of a ruck when it may as well have been a crop top. Luckily I totally dominated the other side’s loosehead to the extent that he could collapse even if he wanted to, so the 17-yo ref didn’t have musch cause to notice his trouble binding properly…

    However, having played with some youngsters over Xmas, I have noticed the tendancy to dispute decisions increasing in the youth of today without much ref response. On Boxing Day people on my side were complaining about the (French) ref’s favorite words being “Not back 10” after a penalty. When i pointed out that if they’d spent the time they’d been telling the ref what was wrong with his call retreating he wouldn’t have had as much cause to say it.

  7. Backchat is rarely punished in rugby, as I hear it continually in professional matches yet referees rarely give ten yards on a penalty and on only one occasion have I seen a referee penalise dissent.

  8. Rob – eh? You don’t watch much rugby then!

    Tim N – we don’t need simplification, the complexity and obscurity add to the enjoyment. Rugby league is a poor second to good union; boring games of union are more common (than of league) however.

  9. @ Interested

    Yes I meant soccer – I’m at a loss why referees don’t punish backchat after free kicks with moving the free kick forward ten yards (and possibly therefore converting it into a penalty)

  10. @ Interested

    we don’t need simplification, the complexity and obscurity add to the enjoyment

    I agree, it does, but this complexity is the weakest point in the whole sport, to the extent they’re still making major changes to the rule book every year. At the start of every campaign there is a discussion from the commentators about the new rules, whether the players are aware of them, etc. I’d imagine it was an awfully long time ago that this occurred in football.

    Rugby league is a poor second to good union;

    Possibly. I think overall RL is the better game, but managed, marketed, and largely supported (in the UK) by imbeciles. Certainly in the late 90’s/early 00’s I considered RL to be superior to RU, especially at the British club level. Give me a Wigan vs St. Helens over Bath vs Saracens any day. But I’ve not watched RL in years (can’t really get it abroad) and the more I see RU develop – especially in the southern hemisphere – the more I see it creep closer to RL (uncontested lineouts, not contesting at the ruck, better passing and tackling, more mobile and athletic players, etc.). Nowadays, I think the Super XV rugby is probably as good as any I’ve watched, and more enjoyable than RL, but a decade or so ago it wasn’t (for me anyway).

    boring games of union are more common (than of league) however.

    True, although…the problem with RL is that there are no tactics: whoever is stronger, faster, and fitter will win. If you come up against a better team you can compete for a while (which is why the games are rarely dull) but in the last third or quarter they often turn into a farce with one side dominating the other. Unlike in RU, there is no way to switch tactics to counter the strengths of the opposition. The beauty of RU is that a technically better team can still be beaten by good tactics, in RL you just need to be better.

    The other major drawback of RL is that it cannot be played socially: any 15 blokes of all different shapes and sizes can get an RU team together and have a bit of a laugh against another 15. With RL, you need to be fast, fit, and strong and if you’re not, the game is not worth playing and is a waster of time. It’s like boxing, you need to be pretty good to do it. I was terrible at RU, but even now I could probably get myself into a social side and enjoy myself.

  11. @Tim Newman

    RL was definitely the more exciting sport in the late 1990s – being professional, the players were fitter and stronger and more dynamic and explosive.

    Since professionalism came to union, that has changed, though.

    ‘The beauty of RU is that a technically better team can still be beaten by good tactics, in RL you just need to be better.’

    Up to a point, Lord Copper. Any significant advantage in strength and, particularly, fitness will out over 80 minutes.

  12. Up to a point, Lord Copper. Any significant advantage in strength and, particularly, fitness will out over 80 minutes.

    For sure. What I meant was that a team with a weak scrum but good lineout can resort to a kicking game, for example. Or if your backs are weak, you keep the ball in the forwards. You don’t really have any such options in RL, if you’re being killed in one area of the game it is pretty hard to compensate in another.

  13. Sorry – I’d misunderstood your point Tim. Yes, quite right.

    Thought TBH it’s that tactical thing I love about RU vs RL.

    Mind you, it can have annoying side effects, as with the Neil Back vs Steve Ojomoh/Ben Clarke nonsense.

  14. however…most cricketers do not know the laws of the game. it is obvious that most soccer fans/players/commentators are equally ignorant….. Surely professional sportspeople should know the rules!¬

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