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hellboundrugger
25-09-06, 19:09
Hello all and my apologies for my extended absence from the forum - no excuses!!

My issue is one that I have heard over and over from high level evaluators. Top level refs use a different standard than the one that we are expected to apply and the lower levels. I comletely disagree with this practice. I do not believe that they make for more entertaining rugby. There are plenty of games with the laws applied correctly that are very compelling. In fact I believe this has a negative impact on the game because lower level players attempt to emulate what they have seen on TV and this makes our jobs as refs more difficult as we are expected to manage them out of this behaviour. It is also unproductive for referees who are attempting learn more by watching games on TV and they then try to figure out which calls should be made. Is there any remedy to this problem?

Gavin

SONA
25-09-06, 20:09
I must agree.

Robert Burns
25-09-06, 21:09
Well, in theory you are of course right but there are a few differences which is why it is reffed different.

1, The players are at peak fitness and train the game everyday.
2, If they get injured they still get paid, and the clubs gets them better.
3, The TJ's are top quality and the team of three work very well.

It's a reason because in our levels people can get injured by doing things that the pros can do without getting injured, and of course quite a few people won't get paid if they get injured, so the duty of care is slightly higher.

Hope this helps.

SimonSmith
25-09-06, 21:09
Do they apply a different standard? Certainly hope so. You wouldn't referee a SuperLeague team the same way that you referee a D3 college team would you? I have different expectations and tolerances according the demonstrated skill levels.

I wonder if you are talking the application of law, rather than different standards? Because if you are, I think the question of materiality will start to raise its ugly head.

One observation I would make is that learning from watching the television can happen, but it shouldn't be the purpose of watching the game. There are too many variables that don't make it a useful training tool or experience.

hellboundrugger
25-09-06, 22:09
>>>Do they apply a different standard? Certainly hope so. You wouldn't referee a SuperLeague team the same way that you referee a D3 college team would you? I have different expectations and tolerances according the demonstrated skill levels.<<<

Actually I do referee the same way for every team I ref, I feel the application of the law is quite specific. I have no more tolerance for infringements at any level. The difference I find is that I must manage and communicate a lot more in lower level games to assist the players.


>>>One observation I would make is that learning from watching the television can happen, but it shouldn't be the purpose of watching the game. There are too many variables that don't make it a useful training tool or experience.<<<<

I do find TV games invaluable now as I have trained myself to filter the referees descisions. Also I record the games so that I can evaluate various situations and even replay them several times to reach my own conclusion of an infringment

hellboundrugger
25-09-06, 22:09
Well, in theory you are of course right but there are a few differences which is why it is reffed different.

1, The players are at peak fitness and train the game everyday.
2, If they get injured they still get paid, and the clubs gets them better.
3, The TJ's are top quality and the team of three work very well.

It's a reason because in our levels people can get injured by doing things that the pros can do without getting injured, and of course quite a few people won't get paid if they get injured, so the duty of care is slightly higher.

Hope this helps.

But is this a reason to completely ignore basic laws? There are no interpretations to be made. There is just a clear directive to ignore certain parts of the law book. Does this make the brand of rugby they are playing better? If this is the case then why should we not make up a separate set of guidlines for lower level games maybe guidelines for levels 1-3 then 4-7, it just does not make any sense to me - why not just apply the laws the same way top to bottom, I don't believe the game will suffer in any way.

SimonSmith
25-09-06, 23:09
>>>Do they apply a different standard? Certainly hope so. You wouldn't referee a SuperLeague team the same way that you referee a D3 college team would you? I have different expectations and tolerances according the demonstrated skill levels.<<<

Actually I do referee the same way for every team I ref, I feel the application of the law is quite specific. I have no more tolerance for infringements at any level. The difference I find is that I must manage and communicate a lot more in lower level games to assist the players.


I can't agree with that wholeheartedly. Put it bluntly - at lower levels fat old boys are more likely to fall over than very fit guys - if the younger fitter better coached guys go to the deck over the ball it's because they know what they're doing, not because of abysmal technique. I suggest to you that to view the same things in exactly the same way every single time does not help the players.

I diagree that the application of law is quite specific. The use of advantage, to begin with, is very very subjective. Some of the directives, the last time I checked, from USA rugby are actually contrary to law - allowing the last player at the ruck to go in and dig the ball out. That is quite contrary to the law as it is writ.

I believe that as referees we are being asked to exercise judgment at every turn, not apply a rigidity of mind. How long is "too long" for holding on to the ball in the tackle? I'll give him a bit longer if no-one is trying to get the ball and it allows for clean presentation; if someone wants the ball, he'd better be quicker.

I'd be interested to know what you feel top level referees have been instructed to ignore. I grant you, their definition of straight isn't quite the geometrical definition I have, but I can live with it.

Oh, btw one of the key reasons I don't try to learn too much from the television guys - 9 times out of ten they're miked and earphoned to a team of three. Their positioning therefore and what they see/know is going on is going to be substantially to what I experience on most game days.

Simon Griffiths
25-09-06, 23:09
I can't agree with that wholeheartedly. Put it bluntly - at lower levels fat old boys are more likely to fall over than very fit guys - if the younger fitter better coached guys go to the deck over the ball it's because they know what they're doing, not because of abysmal technique. I suggest to you that to view the same things in exactly the same way every single time does not help the players.
I think you've hit the nail on the head there Simon. If I went out and refereed a L13 game in the same way as I referee my occassional L9 games, there would be a number of players who'd have their afternoon spoilt and a less than popular referee trying to justify being the centre of atteniton. The same situation often has to be dealt with in a different manner depending on the level and type of match.

Simon Thomas
25-09-06, 23:09
Good to see you online again Gavin - all the best wishes to you.

I haven't got time now to expres my views in detail - tomorrow hopefully and having met me and had me assess your veruy good performance at Brunel University v Guys Hospital (the oldest rugby club in the workd) here in London last season, you know you will get an honest point of view !

hellboundrugger
25-09-06, 23:09
I can't agree with that wholeheartedly. Put it bluntly - at lower levels fat old boys are more likely to fall over than very fit guys - if the younger fitter better coached guys go to the deck over the ball it's because they know what they're doing, not because of abysmal technique. I suggest to you that to view the same things in exactly the same way every single time does not help the players.

So you are saying that is OK for a fat slow old guy who gets to a ruck late then flops on the pile and kills the ruck should be given some leeway. This is my point for this thread, don't apply the laws differently, just manage the players differently.




I diagree that the application of law is quite specific. The use of advantage, to begin with, is very very subjective.


Now its my turn to disagree:) The advantage law and subsequent guidelines are quite clear



I'd be interested to know what you feel top level referees have been instructed to ignore. I grant you, their definition of straight isn't quite the geometrical definition I have, but I can live with it.

I believe the ruck laws are the most obvious, sealing and bridging are very common, also attacking players coming in from the side, less obviously sheperding (obstruction in the back line and finally lineouts (closing the gap)

And btw thanks for your replies this has been a fun discussion

hellboundrugger
26-09-06, 00:09
Good to see you online again Gavin - all the best wishes to you.

I haven't got time now to expres my views in detail - tomorrow hopefully and having met me and had me assess your veruy good performance at Brunel University v Guys Hospital (the oldest rugby club in the workd) here in London last season, you know you will get an honest point of view !

Hello Simon

Nice to hear from you as well. I look foreward to your reply.

SONA
26-09-06, 01:09
I think you've hit the nail on the head there Simon. If I went out and refereed a L13 game in the same way as I referee my occassional L9 games, there would be a number of players who'd have their afternoon spoilt and a less than popular referee trying to justify being the centre of atteniton. The same situation often has to be dealt with in a different manner depending on the level and type of match.
I agree they are all managed differently. In fact they are refereed differently. Here in the US, unlike the UK, college is often the entry level introduction to the game. Many of these kids have no clue as to what the Law states. None, zero. Only that you can't do this and that. At best a broad understanding. So as you bring two sides together you attempt to apply as much of the law as possible and use preventative ref skills to minimize penalty. Face it, if you blew the whistle for each and every obvious infraction in many cases there would be no game. So in an effort to keep things moving you have to overlook some issues. Not so in higher club play. More experienced players know more law, not always as much as you think they should know, but they know more. This is a completely different level of play and implies the need for altering your refing style and managment. Somewhere above this level, as I have not gotten to it, the style shifts again as you incoorporate "materiality" into observed potential infractions. This is where things get a bit dicey.

Mike Whittaker
26-09-06, 10:09
When watching a game on the TV there are 2 different aspects worth noting...

1) The application of the law. This can be confusing as you say, so don't bother with it yourself in the early days. Plenty of time to discuss at meetings etc.

2) The management of the game. Here the top boys often show a lot from which one can learn. Just watch them and not the game. Follow the movement, listen to the voice, watch the signals etc. Check out if they are clear, calm and in control; that is a major part of any refs challenge. :)

Davet
26-09-06, 10:09
I don't see the refs job as simply applying the laws, absolutely, without referenece to the type and level of the game and the skills and fitness of the players. My job is to help 30+ people have a good game of rugby.

If that means not blowing the whistle for something which didn't particularly matter then then that's what I'll do (or not do, if you see what I mean). What I will do is have a word with an offender and ask them to do it right, and I will ping a repeat offence, even if not material - otherwise it starts to wind up the opposition. (And me!)

But I feel that part of the refs skillset must be an empathy with what the players are doing, and wether a problem is coming from an attempt to cheat, or from ignorance or lack of skill - and the conditions.

I know refs don't coach, but if we have had the 3rd not straight at the lineout on a windy day then I may well blow it, with a comment about it being a brave call to go the back in this wind....

jboulet4648
26-09-06, 12:09
Do they apply a different standard? Certainly hope so. You wouldn't referee a SuperLeague team the same way that you referee a D3 college team would you? I have different expectations and tolerances according the demonstrated skill levels.

I am in TOTAL agreement with Gavin on this. I think the laws are clear, and no matter what level you are reffing, you need to hold the standard of what the law says. How will we get the low level D3 college teams to start playing good rugby? By enforcing good rugby practices in the games we ref. Now I may allow three tackle violations before I warn and a yellow at the fourth in a D3 college match, whereas in a D2 college and above match I would warn after 2, card at 3 (yes I know game specific, but generally speaking), but my standard of what I expect players to do at the tackle and ruck to produce good, clean ball does not change.

OB..
26-09-06, 13:09
I am in TOTAL agreement with Gavin on this.
Actually, you are not.

Actually I do referee the same way for every team I ref, I feel the application of the law is quite specific. I have no more tolerance for infringements at any level.

Now I may allow three tackle violations before I warn and a yellow at the fourth in a D3 college match, whereas in a D2 college and above match I would warn after 2, card at 3 (yes I know game specific, but generally speaking), but my standard of what I expect players to do at the tackle and ruck to produce good, clean ball does not change.
Unless it is just semantics.

We agree that the laws do not change from game to game.
We agree that some things are always allowed, even though technically illegal (eg hand-off).
Do we agree that the way we apply the laws varies with the game we have in front of us?

I agree with Davet

I don't see the refs job as simply applying the laws, absolutely, without referenece to the type and level of the game and the skills and fitness of the players. My job is to help 30+ people have a good game of rugby.
The laws are a framework within which we manage the game.

We had a conference last year around the theme of Consistency. It was clear that referees (in our Federation at least) are NOT expected to treat every game the same. Indeed as an adviser, I am expected to include comments on empathy with the players in my management comments. Rigid application of the laws come hell or high water would not attract favourable remarks.

Simon Thomas
26-09-06, 14:09
In my experience as a referee and as an adviser, I can categorically say that every game is refereed in a slightly different way.
In two weekends I have refereed a level 8 match and then a re-appointment level 10 (2nd XV v 3rd XV) - very very different matches and I applied the Laws in different ways in each, albeit the basics are of course exactly the same.

I regard myself as a facilitator, enabling 30 guys to have an enjoyable match, in safety, to common Laws and consistently. I use my personality and man management techniques to provide the right environment in which they can play. As OB says the Laws (and variations etc) are there for you to apply as a refereeing framework only. However you should be using your judgement and interpretation based on what is happening in front (and behind !) you, after safety and equity, to apply the Laws (in some cases under a protocol agreed between refs-coaches-player e.g IRB, 6 Nations, Premiership, English National Panel). Also your empathy with what the players are actually trying to achieve and their potential to do so is crucial - some referees I have seen can have little empathy and are too robotic when they start, and it is often those who have never played the game seriously themselves or refereeing above the level they played at. With an open mind and thirst to learn experience will help add to that empathy.

Finally you should apply the Laws as it 'materially' affects the match, not for the sake of blowing the whistle, and that can only be different for varied speed, skill level, ages, structure and tactical format of the match you are covering.

SimonSmith
26-09-06, 15:09
So you are saying that is OK for a fat slow old guy who gets to a ruck late then flops on the pile and kills the ruck should be given some leeway. This is my point for this thread, don't apply the laws differently, just manage the players differently.

Now its my turn to disagree:) The advantage law and subsequent guidelines are quite clear

I believe the ruck laws are the most obvious, sealing and bridging are very common, also attacking players coming in from the side, less obviously sheperding (obstruction in the back line and finally lineouts (closing the gap)

And btw thanks for your replies this has been a fun discussion

To go back to my scenario, what actually constitutes advantage may vary according to the level of the game. Entry level college kids are given, by me anyway, a lot more time to try stuff if they aren't being put under pressure. I'll know within one phase if a D1 side have got their advantage.

SimonT got it spot on - I apply the laws as they materially affect the game. I don't blow for every single infraction; I blow for the ones that I judge I have to.

LeeTowers
26-09-06, 18:09
I believe that a referee must never lower their standards, whatever game it is they are refereeing.

What does change between the levels is the style in which you manage the players.

OB..
26-09-06, 20:09
Are we merely into semantics ("management" vs "standards")?

Do you really expect the same from players at L15 as you do at L6? I don't. I think the referee ought to adapt accordingly. Is that lowering standards or merely changing management?

hellboundrugger
26-09-06, 22:09
Hello all and my apologies for my extended absence from the forum - no excuses!!

My issue is one that I have heard over and over from high level evaluators. Top level refs use a different standard than the one that we are expected to apply and the lower levels.


I must thank everyone for their input, from the sound of things it all seems we are on the same page , which is nice to see. We are all just saying it a little differently. If we consider managing lower level players differently, it means we are not reffing each game the same, which is how it should be. It does not seem to me that any of you would ignore an infraction that materially affects the game That is not really my issue, it is strictly with the highest levels of the game. I don't think its right for refs to allow bridging and sealing in these games, no matter how high the standard of play is because these actions do MATERIALLY affect the game

hellboundrugger
26-09-06, 22:09
2) The management of the game. Here the top boys often show a lot from which one can learn. Just watch them and not the game. Follow the movement, listen to the voice, watch the signals etc. Check out if they are clear, calm and in control; that is a major part of any refs challenge. :)

Excellent point!!

baaas
08-10-06, 08:10
it's really for the commentators.most of them don't know the laws so it gives them some idea of whats going on .they then pass this on to the viewing public who then say 'great game enjoyed that!' without really knowing what went on in the game

Coler
23-10-06, 21:10
It seems to me that frequently players will purport to prefer to be refereed as if they were playing a test match...if however one was to penalise the lower level player's accidental infringements as if they were intentional, a low grade match would simply be a serious of penalties.

However, for example, accidentally falling over a tackle and killing ball must be pinged, if only to protect the clumsy lower grade player from a clumsy and painful shoeing.

Therefore, where possible, in my opinion, materiality must be applied to a greater extent in a low grade game where infringements due to lack of knowledge and lack of fitness are happening all over the place.

Finally, a ref who coaches is a pain in the neck and inappropriate, however, when dealing with low grade matches where players are new to the game (e.g. college in the US was mentioned earlier in the thread) then to explain graphically is to add to development of the game and therefore desirable.

peperami
07-11-06, 14:11
In my experience as a referee and as an adviser, I can categorically say that every game is refereed in a slightly different way.
In two weekends I have refereed a level 8 match and then a re-appointment level 10 (2nd XV v 3rd XV) - very very different matches and I applied the Laws in different ways in each, albeit the basics are of course exactly the same.

I regard myself as a facilitator, enabling 30 guys to have an enjoyable match, in safety, to common Laws and consistently. I use my personality and man management techniques to provide the right environment in which they can play.

Bit Snipped

Finally you should apply the Laws as it 'materially' affects the match, not for the sake of blowing the whistle, and that can only be different for varied speed, skill level, ages, structure and tactical format of the match you are covering.


I agree with Simon here, its important to facilitate a game. At the lower levels of the game, I could blow my whistle almost continuosly for 80 mins. What is the point in that ? None. So you attempt to manage this and prevent offences.

Ben