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OB..
16-12-06, 00:12
In the Ulster v London Irish game, a penalty was awarded to Ulster wide out in the LI 22. David Humphrey took the ball, walked back as if to widen the angle, removed his headgear, as he always does prior to taking a kick, and the kicking tee came on. He then tapped and ran, being awarded a try in the corner.

Clearly London Irish were at fault, just as South Africa were when Ronan O’Gara sneaked a try against them. The referee had not signalled a kick at goal, so they should not have assumed it.

However, was the referee (Christophe Berdos) right to allow the score?

The relevant part of the law is:
21.4 (b) If a kicker indicates to the referee the intention to kick a penalty kick at goal, the kick must be taken within one minute from the time the player indicates the intention to kick at goal. The intention to kick is signalled by the arrival of the kicking tee or sand, or when the player makes a mark on the ground. (My emphasis)

Does it only count if the kicker tells the referee he has sent for the tee, or is going to kick at goal? Surely not, because the opposition have no way of knowing that. It seems to me to fall into the same category as the player who points at the posts and says to the referee, "I don’t intend to kick at those". The referee’s response should be, "You do now".

Michael Lynagh said he thought Humphrey’s action was correct in law, but was sharp practice bordering on being improper. I think the referee was wrong. It is well established that he can ask the kicker his intention. I think he should have done so.

It is another badly written law, of course. IMHO it should revert to the previous law as to timing ie after 40 seconds, the referee stops the clock. Then it is reasonable to say that the time starts when the referee marks the spot of the penalty. Indicating the intention to kick at goal can then be in a separate paragraph, which should make it clear that trying to fool the opposition is not permitted.

Davet
18-12-06, 09:12
I don't think the law was at fault here. The kicking tee arrived - which sigbnalled that the intent was to kick for goal. The try should not have been allowed - referee error.

It can happen.

But I see nothing wrong in trying to outsmart the opposition - within the laws.

If he had moved back, removed his headgear, and no tee had arrived - no mark made and no indication to the ref, then fine - wakey wakey LI.

But sisnce in this case the tee had arrived and since the law says that is the indication to kick... poor decision by the ref.

outofpuff
18-12-06, 10:12
Agree with Davet, tee was there. Try should have been disallowed, Humphrey sent to the bin for cheating and a penalty given to LI

beckett50
18-12-06, 12:12
I don't think the law was at fault here. The kicking tee arrived - which sigbnalled that the intent was to kick for goal. The try should not have been allowed - referee error.

... poor decision by the ref.

Not the only poor decision he made throught the game. Thought that he had a poor game, and wasn't helped by the TJs either.

Emmet Murphy
18-12-06, 18:12
Wasn't it Berdos refereeing that game? It is one of those freakish events that hardly ever occur but with the tee being there he should have disallowed it alright. He has looked a little nervous with some of the decisions I've seen him give so far this season ... I'm sure he'll become a better ref for it all!!

OB..
18-12-06, 20:12
The problem with the law is the conflict between these two phrases:-
If a kicker indicates ...
The intention to kick is signalled by ...

Which is it that counts, a statement by the kicker or the arrival of the tee?

The most sensible change would be to make it the captain's responsibility to inform the referee. The tee should not be allowed on until the referee has signalled to his TJs. If it does come on earlier, no quick tap should be allowed.

Dixie
18-12-06, 22:12
OB - where is the conflict between those two phrases? Are you not assuming that the kicker indicates his intention by speaking to the ref, whereas in fact the law defines the indication otherwise - i.e. the arrival of the tee? I would imagine this was a sensible reaction to the introduction of the new-fangled tee after years of hacking up the pitch or covering it with sand, and a way of silencing those who were asking whether the minute was up yet while the subs were searching everyone's bag for the tee they were sure was there last week.....

OB..
18-12-06, 23:12
Dixie - the crucial feature is letting the referee know so that he signals to the TJs. The first phrase is "If a kicker indicates to the referee the intention to kick a penalty kick at goal..." which would seem clear enough.

However the fact that "The intention to kick is signalled by the arrival of the kicking tee" means it can be signalled by an over-eager helper. The arrival of the tee is an indirect notification to the referee, which thus leaves room for confusion. What if the kicker throws it back?

In fact Law 21.5 (b) is more important:- "If the kicker indicates to the referee the intention to kick at goal, the kicker must kick at goal. Once the kicker has made the intention clear, there can be no change of the intention. The referee may enquire of the kicker as to the intention."

Since 21.4 (b) is headed "No delay" it seems the intention was more to time the one minute from the arrival of the tee than to make it the principal indicator of intention – if so the wording is even worse!

There needs to be a clear decision, communicated to the referee directly.

Davet
19-12-06, 09:12
I would agree with OB there is scope for confusion. My way of dealing with confusion of this sort is to treat things in a the simplest and least sophisticated way possible - following the principle of Occam's Razor.

If a kick at goal is indicated by the kicker then he must follow through. If the Tee arrives then the Law deems as an indication that the kick will be at goal; and the simple approach seems to be that the result of an intention to kick at goal - express or deemed - should be that the kick will happen, and other actions disallowed.

To rely on fairly sophist arguements that it was not the "kicker" who expressed the intent but the law, by virtue of the deemed intent, and that since it was not the actual kicker then the words at 21.5 aren't fulfilled so it was Ok seems to me to strain at the bounds of reasonability.

But then that's why lawyers are needed - in a post-modern world all that matters is the interpretation.

Deeps
19-12-06, 10:12
If memory serves, custom and practice was developed during 5 nations games a few years ago when the kicking Tee would arrive automatically and kickers would then use the excuse that they had not indicated the kick was to be at goal. The inference of the kicking Tee's arrival was then taken to read that the skipper had asked for it and thus was an indication that he had decided that the kick was to be at goal.

Sorry Mr Smarta*se Humphries, Law 21.5(b) applies though what is the sanction, allow him to have another kick, this time at goal? Hardly fair as he has possibly infringed Law 10.2 Unfair Play. Certainly an informal word/admonishment as a minimum for taking the p*ss. A reversed penalty might be correct though a little strong where a scrum to the opposition might be more subtle for an improper kick though law does not seem to support this.

Davet
19-12-06, 11:12
As far as a sanction then why not simply disallow the try and go for a 22 drop out - the attackers took the ball into in-goal, where it was grounded without a try being scored.

OB..
19-12-06, 12:12
At the end of 21.4 it says:-
"Penalty: Unless otherwise stated in Law any infringement by the kicker’s team results in a scrum at the mark. The opposing team throw-in the ball."

I would apply that.

Remember the 1999 France v Fiji RWC match? Paddy O’Brien initially let France tap and run. When his TJs pointed out that they had indicated a kick at goal, he brought play back to let them re-take the kick. Afterwards he admitted he had lost the plot, and should have awarded a scrum to Fiji. He voluntarily demoted himself for a while to recover his confidence.

Deeps
19-12-06, 16:12
At the end of 21.4 it says:-
"Penalty: Unless otherwise stated in Law any infringement by the kicker’s team results in a scrum at the mark. The opposing team throw-in the ball."

Entirely logical sanction, so that's where it was hiding, thanks OB.