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Although pointing at the more elite levels nevertheless a fasinating piece on the advantage law and how coaches and sides are beginning to reject it will be found at
Can't say I agree with the proposed solution(s) but its a highly thought provoking piece.
If I were feeling a little naughty, I'd suggest the piece is indicative of limited thinking.
It's difficult to argue with the general thrust of the piece, which for me generally boils down to :advantage is not working for the pro teams. There is interestingly a nod to the idea that the pro teams have an obligation for entertainment.
Are teams not using advantage to its maximum, er, advantage? My observation is that a lot of teams are coached to patterns, and don't react well to broken fields or the chance to use instinct. A great deal of, although not all, advantage results in what I would call open field, or free ball, and the teams, or the decision makers in the teams, can't make full use of that.
I'll tell you what would interest me: French reaction to that piece. Their teams always had as a trait the ability to make the most of the advantage law.
And here's another suggestion: rewrite the law so that the OPPORTUNITY to gain an advantage is enshrined in law. That way teams know that they can, in law, have shot at getting something, knowing that they can come back if it doesn't work out.
edited because: I missed out an important word
Somebody with ProZone ought to do some research. How often is penalty advantage called "over"? My impression is that it is fairly rare, whereas for technical offences, it is relatively common - >50%? That suggests keeping the status quo for technical offences, but being much more strigent in offering adantage for penalty situations ie slightly different criteria.
At pro level, a penalty either gives a chance of 3 points, or something like 50 metres of ground. I reckon the latter is very rarely gained from the advantage, so only the former need be taken seriously. So the criterion for advantage against a penalty would be that the referee judged there was a good likelihood of a try (position on field, disarray of opposition etc).
Of course rejecting advantage is not necessarily confined to professional teams and it is not uncommon to hear players being instructed to stop playing when their advantage has been called. This is often because the non offending team is tired or has run out of options and prefers the respite provided by an ensuing scrum or a penalty kicked to touch in order to reorganise.
Playing for an advantage may conflict with the rigid game plan of the professional team or with the energy levels of non professionals but the playing of advantage is in law and clearly the expectation is that it should be played. Refusing advantage might be regarded as 'an act contrary to good sportsmanship'; certainly, as the purpose of the advantage law is to promote continuous play then refusing advantage possibly constitutes time wasting.
Referees perhaps should also admonish players at the first instance of refusing to play the game in a sportsmanlike manner in order to establish the benchmark. A little leadership from senior referees may be needed here, before the practice spreads like a disease via SKY, where the issue can probably be taken care of preventatively, pre match.
I am very uncomfortable with the idea of trying to force players to play advantage. How will you decide if the subsequent knock-on is in fact accidental? Even easier is to get tackled and lose the ball forward in the tackle. I think we would merely be encouraging such chicanery.
I certainly agree that a missed drop goal attempt, if done with no pressure due to the infringement, should be advantage over. I remember seeing just such a decision given by, I think, Chris White, a year or so ago in an international.
What we need to do is find out why players do not want to play advantage, not just theorise. Then we can tackle the real problems, not the symptoms.
If coaches do not want it, who are we to impose it?
It certainly raises a knotty subject.
On one particularly foul-weathered day, in anticipation of the conditions making all aspects of play difficult, I actually told the captains that I would try to lengthen my advantage but if they didn't want it they should tell me so. I have to say, it worked a treat for both teams - a spectator would have heard "Advantage blue, black 7 offside", "No thank you, sir" *ping*.
This was a perfect solution for my Level 10 game on the day, but I'm under no illusions that it wouldn't work at top level. Why? Because you'd get (for instance) Martin Johnson stepping offside, the referee sayinga advantage and then Neil Back (or similar) standing behind the referee and saying "No thank you, sir" !! Cue whistle followed by howls of "What about the advantage sir?" from the non-offending team!
Anyway, for all that I've read and digested the article that started this thread, I'm not sure it will change the way I referee advantage. The discretion and interpretation of the rugby referee is a wonderful thing, but impossible to standardise. If top-level teams are unable to adjust to their referee on the day and then cheat... erm, I mean, play smart rugby!... accordingly, they don't deserve to be top-level, IMHO.
Just my £0.02 worth.
"Refusing advantage might be regarded as 'an act contrary to good sportsmanship';"
could be - but you also have the answer that TACTICALLY a scrum or a kick (even for a lineout) is the BEST way for a team to play. Why should teams be forced to try and handle and run, when their strengths possiblyb lay in a steamroller pack that can push over for a score?
the problem with calling the advantage for a missed DG attempt at the moment is such interpretations are so inconcsistent - somne refs do and some refs don't. This was demonstated last RWC in IIRC the samoa match for England when a JW dg
attempt was called as advantage over when similar misses ion previous games had not.
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