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Bryan
15-05-05, 20:05
One of those "this happened to me on the weekend, what should I have done b/c I sure as heck didn't do the right thing?":

Lineout to blue. I am standing towards the back of the lineout so that I can see both the blue hooker and red back-line. Both back lines are 10m from the line of touch, and all's well and happy.

From the throw-in, Red steal the ball in the air, and then hold it in the line-out (maul forms). My arm is still raised to the red back-line (who have now become the attacking team) to hold them 10m and I say "stay 10 metres back-lines".

At the same time, both blue AND red back-lines advance past 10m and are both offside as the line-out has not ended. Now, my back is still towards the blue back-line (who are now the defending team), but red scrum-half passes the ball out to the red fly-half (who is now well inside the 10m and indeed offside). I penalise RED for being off-side at the line-out, award a penalty on the Red "offside line" i.e. the line that the red backs SHOULD'VE been on.

Talking to my referee coach after the match, he said I should've awarded the penalty to blue as they were the defending team. I should've automatically turned towards the blue back-line once blue had lost the ball and focused on the defending team.

I can certainly see my coach's point, but in that situation, when both sets of backs are offside, who should get the penalty? My rationale was that since Red played the ball first I penalised them- not the best logic, i know, but at the time that was all that was going on in my head.

Sometimes we have brain farts, and this was one occasion.

-Bryan

Simon Griffiths
15-05-05, 20:05
As far as I'm aware there is no set precendent or ruling (cue OB). It's a fifty:fifty and I would agree with your coach (and it sounds like you to a certain extent) that penalising the defending team is more usual. Although no-one can argue the logic that red played the ball.

In all likely-hood, I would give the penalty to the team in their own half (no point scoring opportunity etc.).

No-one could argue (legitimately) that you got it wrong (again, cue OB who will find some ruling from 1892 which gives guidance). If it was a social match I'd just tell them to play on and suffer the consequences.

Obviuosly this is much easier if one side moves off-side first!

madref
15-05-05, 21:05
Hello All

I agree award a penalty to the side least likely to score from it.

David

robertti
16-05-05, 07:05
The question of who to penalise is a matter of fact, not a question of 'who is least likely to score from the incident' or anything else for that matter. The scenario you mention above Bryan, of both teams committing the same offence at the same time, is not uncommon in Rugby. How many times have two players from different teams gone straight to ground at the tackle at the same time? How often in a scrum will both hookers advance their striking foot into the tunnel before the ball has left the hands of the feeding scrum half? How many times have both jumpers from different teams in a lineout been lifted before the ball has been thrown in? etc etc.
In these situations, it is both impossible and unfair to penalise one team and not the other based on a subjective and highly irrelevant criteria. The answer is simple, you don't penalise any team, as they are both as guilty as the other. You may choose to simply ignore the infringements and play-on. If the two infringements interfer with play, thats tough luck for the two teams, they're the one's that caused it. Or, you may choose to stop play and reset the preceeding lineout or scrum, or order a penalty or free kick to be retaken when both teams have infringed from a quick tap.
To manage the situation I would advise at the next break in play, you call time off and speak to both captains about keeping their back's back 10m at the lineout and advise them at the previous lineout they were both the guilty party so you couldn't penalise one of them.

Robert Burns
16-05-05, 08:05
I would have stopped the line out, had a wee word (loudly) with both fly halfs, and then had a scrum on the 15 to red who's forwards had done a good job in winning the ball originally.

robertti
16-05-05, 11:05
Rob's solution also sounds like a fair one, at least one of the teams is not being penalised, but the team last in possession is getting possession of the ball in the resulting scrum.

didds
16-05-05, 11:05
what a fantastic dilemma to debate!!

Firstly it seems harsh to penalise red on the basis that they played the ball... as after all they had used skill to put themselves in that position - or blue had displayed poor skill in giving them that position. Either way a PK for blue seems overly "lucky" at least in the scenario given of a double misdemeanour.

I guess, off the top of my head, either Robert's solution is appropraite or "ignoring" the offense but having the necessary word when next convenient. It did strike me that maybe blue of course came up offside BECAUSE red had of course.... it takes quite a lot of discipline to stand still while the oppo run at you when you _think_ (at that juncture) that had done so illegally! :-)

didds

didds
16-05-05, 11:05
I suppoose you could also threaten if it happened again that both sides are in "repeated transgression" danger and you would have no compunction sending both fly-halves/the first receiver's at that junction to the bin (on the base presumption that first receivers generally call the up.. unless voices etc have shown differently etc etc etc)

didds

madref
16-05-05, 11:05
Hello

If you penalise straight away the side least likely to score this will send out a signal for the rest of the game, then lineouts will be clean.

Igonre offence I can just imagine it red punches blue, blue punches back why do we not ignore this both are as bad as each other?

I think an early penaly will stop any messing at the line outs and send a signal to the players you will not take any messing. If they are creeping off side at lineouts, they will be doing it at rucks, mauls and tackles behind your back.

David

OB..
16-05-05, 12:05
If you see a couple of players punching way at each other, you can yellow card both, but you can only penalise one team. How do you decide which to choose?

My observation is that most referees choose neither, but simply warn both teams. Restart depends on why he stopped the game. If it was for eg a knock-on, then return to the scrum. If it was in order to sort out the fight, then a scrum to the side that had the ball.

I am uncomfortable with the concept of penalising the side least likely to score. If the players realise that is what you have done, they are likely to regard your decision-making as arbitrary, which will undermine your authority rather than confirming it. You must at least assert, believably, that the team was the first to transgress. Hold up play until you have spoken to both teams ie no quick tap.

SimonSmith
16-05-05, 13:05
I'd be tempted to penalize blue.

My rationale is that in the pre match, I tell the 10 specifically that if defending, they do not move until the arm comes down. They are not to use the attacker's space. Get agreement. Then turn to the defenders (i.e. not winning the line out) immediately; I'm less worried about the attackers using up space....

robertti
17-05-05, 11:05
Didds,

If the blue backs had come up into the 10m BECAUSE red backs had come up too early as well, this would mean that the two offences could not have happened at the same time. In this situation, Bryan has expressively said that both offences occured at the same time. IF blue had encroached because red had encroached beforehand then yes the penalty should go against red, but not if both teams had come up at the same time.



If you penalise straight away the side least likely to score this will send out a signal for the rest of the game, then lineouts will be clean.

Igonre offence I can just imagine it red punches blue, blue punches back why do we not ignore this both are as bad as each other?

David

David,

I am still very much against this idea that we should penalise the team 'least likely to score' if both teams have transgressed at the same time. If, as you have suggested, penalise one team when both are the guilty parties, doesn't it put forward a message more like this? The team you penalised may stay back 10m at the lineouts because they have been pinged. But the team you DIDN'T ping, who at the same time was equally as guilty as their opposition, will think they can get away with it next time and will exploit you at the next lineout and then if you try and ping them the next time they come in 10m, they'll ask 'Why didn't you do it last time then?' I can understand your wanting to stamp your authority on the game, but I dont think singling out one team when both are as guilty as the other is the way to go about it. Do this by stopping play and calling out your captains and having a word (stern if you like) about encroaching on the 10m.

And whilst this is deviating off the topic a bit, in respect to the two players punching, why not give both of them a yellow/red card and because they are as both as guilty as the other restart the game where it would have otherwise restarted. We aren't ignoring the fact that they're punching, just acknowledging that penalising one of them would be unfair.

madref
17-05-05, 13:05
Hi

Thinking about it, if both sides at the lineout are gaining yards it is too the defendings team advantage, an attacking team going nearer to the defenders do not gain anything do they ?

So after reading all this thread I think I would penalise the defending team for comming up and have a word with the attacking captain. Next line out if the attacking team again come up I would then penalise them.

David

Bryan
17-05-05, 14:05
Firstly, thanks again for all the discussion.

Options discussed so far:

Penalise the team least likely to score
This requires too much "processing time" on the referee's part. The lineout on the weekend occurred between the half-way and Red's 10m line, so I'm not sure you can justify who is less likely to score, even if the penalty is on the offending team's offside line.

Penalise defending team
This seems the most logical. Firstly, if you penalise the attacking team, you have essentially penalised them for their own skill as they had won the line-out. The team that has the most to gain from advancing 10m is the defending team, as they are limiting the space in which the attacking team can play the ball. If the attacking team want to come up offside then that's their perogative as long as the fly-half isn't right at my back when it occurs. As stated above before, I'd have a word with both fly-halfs anyways to encourage them to maintain that 10m and wait for my arm to lower before advancing.

It's all crystal clear now- at least I think so.
-Bryan

robertti
17-05-05, 15:05
I suppose what we can gain from this is that we agree to disagree ;)

Robert Burns
17-05-05, 16:05
You forgot about my tell both team give red the scrum option, they had won the ball against the throw remember.

didds
17-05-05, 17:05
If the attacking team want to come up offside then that's their perogative as long as the fly-half isn't right at my back when it occurs.
-Bryan

... except that it makes it easier for them to break the gain line, getting their pack going forward onto any contact and the defenders' pack going backwards ...

didds

Bryan
17-05-05, 18:05
You forgot about my tell both team give red the scrum option, they had won the ball against the throw remember.

The problem with that Robert is that making new Laws up isn't allowed within the Laws of the game. I would essentially be making up a law on the spot, which is not something I'd be comfortable doing in a Senior Men's game. I could restart the line-out as well from the beginning, but again it seems silly to say "hold on, let's try this one again b/c you're both offside" in a senior match.


except that it makes it easier for them to break the gain line, getting their pack going forward onto any contact and the defenders' pack going backwards ...

Fair point and duly noted, but I'm talking about when defending team is ALSO offside. Perhaps a simple "Play-on" and have a word with the captains wouls also work well. This is NOT the same reaction I would have to foul play, but in this instance it would help the flow of the game.

I'm going to "table" my view for now and comeback later after some more thought.
-Bryan

Robert Burns
18-05-05, 11:05
You are not making up a new law, you said yourself you couldn't be sure who was offside first, but both teams were. So is it fair to penalise either of them?

Same as a ruck situation where you get too many bodies lying on the ground, one or two may have been deliberate but you can't tell who did it first, you don't call penalty, you blow up and go scrum to team going forward.

By giving the scrum and having a word in your situation, I believe that you are letting the fly halfs know that you spotted it, and won't have it, but at the same time you are showing a bit of sympathy for the guys who have just won the ball from the oppositions lineout.

Surely penalising a team on the premuse they are least likely to score is worse?

Simon Griffiths
18-05-05, 18:05
Quite right Robert (even if I was first to suggest 'least likely to score' method). Very similar to ruck situation as it's a hard one to call and a penalty would kill the flow (I was obviously in some kind of 'mood' to go straight for the jugular). A scrum is much better than nothing because, as you say, it lets them know you're watching - similar result as to when we get in the way, but they're getting in each others way!

NB. When I mentioned the 'least likely to score' method, I was obviously thinking foul play. That is an instance when it is very suitable/acceptable, as it is often incomprehendable to restart with a scrum after some incidents and if its 50:50 you may still have to give a PK - it was a piece of advice from a number of very experieced referees.

PeterTC
18-05-05, 21:05
I suppose if you defend it from Bryan's POV, a scrum is a valid option under Law for "Ball unplayable at a Ruck", whereas a scrum for both sides breaking the offside lines at a lineout is not.

Bryan
18-05-05, 23:05
I suppose if you defend it from Bryan's POV, a scrum is a valid option under Law for "Ball unplayable at a Ruck", whereas a scrum for both sides breaking the offside lines at a lineout is not.

Exactly! There are provisions in the Law for a ball that is unplayable at a ruck. HOWEVER, if there are 2 players (one from each team) who are equally offside at a ruck (a sentinel and his cohort on the other team), then once again what to do? A ball unplayable is NOT the same as 2 players (or 2 sets of players) committing "equal and opposite" infringements at the offside line. If both sets of rucking players were diving over the ball (thus smothering the ball), then YES, the ball is unplayable AND we have a penalty infraction from both teams, in which case you could bring it up for a scrum and warn the players to stay on their feet instead of give a penalty.

At an offside situation such as the one described before, the ball is NOT unplayable. You therefore cannot use that logic in my humble opinion.

Still thinking about what I'd do... so far I'm leaning towards yellow-carding the entire back-lines and playing a game of 9 on 9. This would certainly reduce any offside at the lineout for the next 10 minutes. ;)

-Bryan

Robert Burns
19-05-05, 08:05
Thats fair enough but I still think in this situation you should have a certain amount of empathy, You didn't see who did it first and so you are guessing who to penalise.

Next time you will be watching.

It's the same as your two players brawling when you look over your shoulder, you don't know who started it, so you yellow card both and restrat the game with a scrum to the team that was in possession at the time.

Simon Griffiths
19-05-05, 10:05
It's all part of man/game management. In rugby we have a certain amount of flexibility to do what is necessary to counter any 'misdoings'.

Let's also remember that there is even a Law that says this (referee is sole judge...). If you feel uncomfortable giving it as a management decision, then perhaps there was a 'knock on' ;) in the lineout.

SimonSmith
19-05-05, 13:05
Was this thrown up earlier?

Two wrongs make aa right (sometimes). If you feel that the encroachment was not material in anyway, don't blow.
Then, before the next line out, have a word with the captains or 10s to let them know what might happen next time.

If the encroachment was material, then you penalize the team that caused the material offence?

I trust that is clear! :rolleyes:

Robert Burns
19-05-05, 13:05
The thing that was not known though is whether the attacking team came up causing the defending team to do the same, or vice versa? So if it had a material effect, but you don't know who caused it, is it fair to guess?

Mike Whittaker
21-05-05, 06:05
Would like to see decisions made in the context of the game. For most matches agree with Tim and either play on (and tell them at the next line out) or reset the line out.

At higher level would expect the first offence to be penalised, and that surely has to be the one of which you were first aware? If you didn't spot blue come up early then they have got away with it and you are right to penalise red who were spotted.

A lesson on positioning at the line out perhaps?