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Emmet Murphy
18-06-07, 23:06
I was just having a look on the SA Refs website and they have included this incident in their analysis of the weekend's match. In their opinion, Spies should not have been yellow-carded and Australia should have been awarded a scrum for accidental offside:

http://www.sareferees.co.za/laws/laws_explained/story_18607143008.php

Their argument seems to hinge on intent: "But should there not be some intent in the action that leads to the yellow card."

Personally, I do not agree and I think Wayne Barnes was spot on in showing him a YC for repeated infringements as 10.3a clearly states "the question of whether or not the player intended to infringe is irrelevant".

What do others think? Was the YC for Spies justified?

Dickie E
19-06-07, 00:06
Emmett, I disagree with you & agree with the SA website. I think he was hard-done-by as he appeared to be attempting nothing more sinister than trying to get on-side.

The interpretation of 10.3(a) is interesting. Indeed, the wording suggests than ANY unintentional offence (even a knock on) should result in a YC if it follows a warning for repeated infringement. I don't think that is the author's intent, though. Having said that, I don't really know what he/she means by "The question of whether or not the player intended to infringe is irrelevant."

SimonSmith
19-06-07, 01:06
Didn't see the episode, so I won't comment on that directly.

But I think the question of intent does, at some stage, become irrelevant. If it's the first penalty, then intent is a factor. But if the penalty is the umpteenth, and if a caution has been given, then intent goers out the window for me. The YC comes out not for that one singular episode but because of the accretion of all the previous penalties.

Dickie E
19-06-07, 05:06
Simon, can you paint a scenario please to illustrate your point?

David J.
19-06-07, 07:06
I watched it on the SA website, and at the resolution that worked for me (medium) and camera angles it's hard to tell what Spies was doing the ball came at him. The comment on the site mentions however, that he turns away and does not attempt to play the ball.

It's a tough call. He was retiring as required by law, but doing so in between the offensive scrum half passing lane. He's facing the general direction of the ruck, which is 5m-10m to his right, does he know the ball's coming out. Accidental? Maybe. Maybe not. I'm glad I didn't have to make that call.

The SA commenters bring up the spectre of the offense deliberately passing into a retiring defensive player. A valid concern, but a deliberately slow running defensive player is also a concern (standard tactic in my club's touch matches actually) so they cancel each other out.

Intent. What an interesting thing to consider in context of the laws. I'd say someone should intend not to commit a penalty. Players have to intend NOT to commit a penalizable offense. But infringements with scrum (or free kick) results are different, not from a lack of will, but lack of skill.

If Spies was guilty of just accidental, I can't see a Yellow. I can't ever see a Yellow for an infringement with a scrum consequence.

FlipFlop
19-06-07, 07:06
When watching the game, my view of it was that although Spies was retiring, he was doing so fairly slowly, certainly not running back, and while not looking at the ruck directly he certainly knew where the ball was and which way the ball was likely to go, and he certainly knew that he was in the channel, and would have been aware that the Boks were outnumbered on that side. Accidental? Well, I personally doubt it.

Given that Wayne had already warned not only the Boks, but Spies in particular, he had no real choice, and certainly wasn't going to give Spies the benefit of the doubt. Nothing happens by accident at that level, and I'm fairly sure that if Spies had wanted to get out of the way of the ball, he could have.

And if you look at the incident with equity in mind - if Spies hadn't been in the way of the ball, then in all probability the Aussies would have run in a try out wide as it would only have required hands to put someone over. So scrum to Aus when Spies prevented a try scoring chance? (not definitely a try, so no thought of a PT)

Robert Burns
19-06-07, 09:06
Disagree,

How many times on this website have people mentioned the fact that the higher the levels you go the less accidental the offences become, they may be very good at making them look innocent, but maybe innocent should be changed to Cynical.

Yellow Card, has to be!

they knew the warning had been given and as a top international player he knows when and where that SH will be playing the ball. He tried it on, and it didn't work.

Well done Wayne!

Gareth-Lee Smith
19-06-07, 10:06
David J. - "I can't ever see a Yellow for an infringement with a scrum consequence."

Such an incident was discussed in the last 24 hours or so. Should a scuffle break out away from the ball and it is serious enough to require a halt to play and a yellow card to two players (one from either side - this way it's difficult to penalise one way or the other), then a scrum should be awarded at the place of stoppage with the put-in to the team in-possession.

Davet
19-06-07, 12:06
It was a yellow card.

Barnes had issued a team warning for cynical play in the red zone: and a few minute later Spies is cought "retreating" but conveniently right in the channel and obstructing the pass.

A player need not be penalised for offsied if he takes no part in the game; and taking no part means keeping out of the way of those who are entitled to play.

If Spies had staed back- behind the offensive line, and kept out of the way untill the ball had gone beyond his running line he would have been fine.

He didn't, he jogged slowly back; maximising the time he was in the way.

Spot on decision by Barnes - who had a very good game all round.

ExHookah
19-06-07, 12:06
I'm with Robbie on this one. Spies knew exactly what he was doing. At that level very few accidents occur.

I also acknowledge that it could be considered a fairly cynical move by the Aussie scrum half to pass right into the guy and "draw the penalty", but this wouldn't have been an issue if Spies wasn't lumbering through there.

For all of the speed Spies has shown in his brief but impressive test match career, he wasn't exactly racing to get back into his defensive line at that point. Perhaps he considered that moving slowly through the attacking channel could be more beneficial to his team? Just speculating....

Robert Burns
19-06-07, 12:06
The infringement mentioned does not have a scrum consequence though, the scrum comes from equity as two players have been binned and the other team were in possession.

What David meant was you would never yellow card for a knock on/forward pass/real accidental offside.

Although I seem to remember Ex Lucy HAS yellow carded for a forward pass, I'm sure i remember him telling us about that????

Gareth-Lee Smith
19-06-07, 12:06
Hmm, arguable. Depending on what day it was I'd agree with you.

Interested to hear about this Forward Pass though! I'm expecting it to be at the end of the game with a side under pressure with a 2 point lead or something.

tim White
19-06-07, 13:06
YC from me. He was retreating but oh, so slowly and in the channel that was almost certain to be used, it has to be deliberate. Having said that, Gregan is the type of player who would see the situation and try to get a player carded, but not in such a good attacking position I would have thought.:Looser:

ExHookah
19-06-07, 13:06
He was blatently loitering. Let's not give him any benefit of the doubt on this.

By the same token, let's also not give Gregan any benefit of a doubt that he picked him out and deliberately passed into him.

Spies - :nono:
Gregan - :nono:

Simon Thomas
19-06-07, 14:06
No question at international level.

Spies and skipper had been warned - red zone in front of posts, slow amble back to maximise discruption, deliberate loitering.

Any decent scrum half (Intl, Premier, even levels 6/7/8) would do what Gregan did to highlight the lazy running - I see nothing wrong with that.
But also if a pass to Larkham with overlap outside was on, he would have taken that option and lead to 5 or 7 points.

robertti
19-06-07, 17:06
I have no doubt, that Gregan deliberately passed the ball into Spies - that was blatantly obvious. I do have my doubts as to whether Spies was intentionally not getting back quick enough, as he knew if he was on his last warning and he'd be in the bin the next time.

Nevertheless, 21.9 at the Penalty and Free Kicks talks about Contrived Infringments and how if a player is not back 10, and retiring and an attacking player runs straight at him to try and milk 10m, then the referee should play on. I know its not directly applicable to this area of law. But in the same vain, could be not apply this principle generally and if we DIDN'T believe Spies was at fault, should the call be play on - not even accidently offside?

ExHookah
19-06-07, 19:06
I don't think Law 11 really leaves any doubt in there. Spies was offside. He has an obligation to get back onside without interfering with play. If he really wanted to fulfil this obligation he could have jogged around the other side of the ruck, or made his route back to his own offside line one that involved more of an evasive approach.

Simon T, I agree with you about Gregan, I don't want my use of the :nono: to imply otherwise. He's the most capped player of all time, he's not going to miss an opportunity like that. Exactly the smart play that you'd expect from him, and from other players at his level and the levels that you mention.

On a few occasions during the match I got the feeling that the players were trying to test Mr. Barnes. I think he came through the match in a positive light. The guys I was sitting with (Aussies and Saffers) were critical on a couple of occasions, but in those cases they were incorrect in their assertions. I'm not sure what the commentators were saying about him, because as I mentioned, I was sitting with Aussies and Saffers, so the TV was not audible.

Emmet Murphy
19-06-07, 22:06
None of the TV replays really showed this conclusively but the TV commentators said at the time that Australia had a four or five man overlap ... like I said, there weren't any TV replays that really showed whether or not this was the case but if it was would Gregan really have opted for a YC and 3 points instead of the likely 7 points?

tevisv
19-06-07, 23:06
Have to agree w/ the YC here. I think everyone can agree that both Spies and his skipper had been warned about his previous actions. So, even if he was truly retreating w/ no intent to disrupt play, he is still punished b/c of his previous actions.

As for Georgie boy, did anyone else take notice of Mr. Kaplan's remarks a few days before this test? Gregan is king of chatting up the ref, drawing attention to his opposite number, etc... But he does so, in my opinion, in the grey area of sportsmanship labeled "Is it right and fair?"

ExHookah
19-06-07, 23:06
As for Georgie boy, did anyone else take notice of Mr. Kaplan's remarks a few days before this test? Gregan is king of chatting up the ref, drawing attention to his opposite number, etc... But he does so, in my opinion, in the grey area of sportsmanship labeled "Is it right and fair?"

I think a lot of the chirping definitely borders on being unsportsmanlike. It then doesn't help as because when people see Gregan, Dawson, Dallaglio etc. chirping away to the ref, then they think that on a community level it's OK.

I typically find a quick "Boys, keep it down, you're giving me a headache" normally works. That or "Guys, behave yourselves" if they are yapping at each other.

Of course if they don't then we go to other sanctions, as discussed at length on here in the past.

Simon Thomas
20-06-07, 11:06
Late season league match a couple of months ago with two mid-table teams (who I have played against and refereed a fair bit ver last 10 years). Night before was a club annual dinner (but didn't drink as I was driving) at which a few of the players and club committee blazers had also attended.

Lots and lots of chat, especially at first few line outs calls and counter calls getting louder and louder.
Loudly I said - guys, big dinner last night at ABC RFC, please cut out the noise - I can't hear the calls, so won't know where the ball is going. Gales of laughter on and off pitch and relative quiet for rest of the game.

Davet
20-06-07, 11:06
Robertti - 21.9 talks of contrived infringements - and talks about a player who is trying to comply with Law, and is then run into by an opponent who could have avoided him.

Superficially I can see similarities. But I also see significant differences. In the tap and go example the obstructing player was not trying to obstruct, and was retiring as fast as possible, and was not offside. In the Spies case then he was offside, and though retiring to an onside position was doing so slowly. More significant - to my mind - would be the principle of offside players not interfering with play. If he had remained offside, but behind the attacking line, not in the way of play, then I would not have even considered penalising him. Rather, I would have thanked him.

If he had been out of the way, and making efforts to keep out of the way, then I would go with 21.9, but by getting in the way he earned the Yellow promised.

Dickie E
20-06-07, 12:06
Robertti - 21.9 talks of contrived infringements - and talks about a player who is trying to comply with Law, and is then run into by an opponent who could have avoided him.

Superficially I can see similarities. But I also see significant differences. In the tap and go example the obstructing player was not trying to obstruct, and was retiring as fast as possible, and was not offside. In the Spies case then he was offside, and though retiring to an onside position was doing so slowly. More significant - to my mind - would be the principle of offside players not interfering with play. If he had remained offside, but behind the attacking line, not in the way of play, then I would not have even considered penalising him. Rather, I would have thanked him.

If he had been out of the way, and making efforts to keep out of the way, then I would go with 21.9, but by getting in the way he earned the Yellow promised.


Let me see if I've got this straight. If he had been stationery and not attempting to get onside he would be OK. If he had run quickly and had the ball thrown into him he would be OK. Everything else is loitering. Have I got it right?

ex-lucy
20-06-07, 13:06
dickie e: i agree with Davet, materiality....

Qs to all:
If Spies had put his hands up in surrender mode a la Fitzy/ Zinzan would he have been as guilty of offside?
If he had run round the blind side to get onside would he have been as guilty?
If he had run to outside centre to get onside would he have been as guilty?
If he had stayed back and waited ... then jogged onside, at what point is he ok to not be carded?

FlipFlop
20-06-07, 13:06
Say you are reffing a game, and the scrum half decides to go the "wrong" way as far as you are concerned. You find yourself in the "9 - 10" channel. The ball leaves the scrummies hands straight at you/where you were running. Do you get out of the way?

My answer is I try, I drop to the deck, stop running, do whatever is necessary to avoid that ball. I'm not always successful, but no-one seeing me will deny I made every effort to avoid interferring with play.

So my next question is - What did Spies do to avoid the ball? He would have been aware of where the ball was, and which way the Aussies were going, as he would be required in the defensive line. But he did nothing to avoid the ball. Hence whether he was hit accidently, or on purpose (by Gregan), he was doing nothing to avoid the ball, which must be his primary responsibility while offside.

Personally I need to see any offside player actively trying to avoid a ball, for me to consider accidental offside. Anything else is a penalty. It is because of this I see no problem with the penalty. And then as he has been warned, the YC comes into play.

Davet
20-06-07, 14:06
Dickie - if he had run quickly - and got in the way that would have been a penalty. If he had stood still, whilst in the way, that would have been a penalty.

He needed, actively, to get out of the way.

As Flip-Flop says - he does, I do, I'm sure you do - so should offside players.

In response to ex-Lucy: it depends. If whatever he does puts him in harms way then he is responisble. In order to avoid the penalty he needs to take whatever action he (reasonably) can to avoid interfering. Judgement of that depends on all the circumstances at the time. There are no hard and fast solutions.

beckett50
20-06-07, 14:06
dickie e: i agree with Davet, materiality....

Qs to all:
If Spies had put his hands up in surrender mode a la Fitzy/ Zinzan would he have been as guilty of offside?
If he had run round the blind side to get onside would he have been as guilty?
If he had run to outside centre to get onside would he have been as guilty?
If he had stayed back and waited ... then jogged onside, at what point is he ok to not be carded?

Answers:

1. Draw attention to yourself:clap: - Yes
2. No, since the materiality aspect doesn't come into it - over lap to open side (in this instance)
3. Yes
4. Once the phase of play has moved on. Whilst he is, and remains, off-side and is doing nothing to rectify the situation he is not making it worse by cutting out the options of the attacking team in a legal manner.

Robert Burns
20-06-07, 19:06
Give the guy a huge kiss on the lips, this will take him totally by surprise and inform him next time he comes near you to moan you'll have to use tongues!

That'll do!

Dickie E
21-06-07, 00:06
"Personally I need to see any offside player actively trying to avoid a ball,..."

Love these made-up Laws.

I think it comes to this - is he guilty of loitering given that loitering is defined as "a player who remains in an offside position"? (refer Law 11.9)

In my view a player is not "remaining in an offside position" if he attempts to move directly on-side at a steady pace (fast, slow, crawling on the ground, I don't care).

Further Law 11.1(b) is not contravened unless the offside player plays the ball or obstructs an opponent. This does not include being where an opponent may or may not pass the ball. Being hit by the ball is not playing the ball.

OB..
21-06-07, 01:06
"Remaining in an offside position" does not imply being static. It simply means "continuing to be in an offside position". That is true until he is onside again.

Your interpretation of Law 11.1 (b) is that a player can only be considered to be interfering with play if he plays the ball or obstructs an opponent. I would suggest he is interfering if he obstructs the ball - by getting in the way of a pass. If you want to stick to your (IMHO) over-literal view, I would simply use 10.4 (k). It is nonsensical to argue that an offside player is entitled to block a pass.

We can argue if it was deliberate or not. I am pretty sure he was ambling back in the hope that (a) he would "accidentally" get in the way, adn (b) that he would get away with it because it was "accidental". His actions do not make much sense otherwise.

Davet
21-06-07, 11:06
Dickie - made up laws? Not really.

The Law is quite clear that being offside in and of itself is not penalisable, only if the offside player interferes with the game.

Just taking action to get back onside is not the answer, if doing so brings you into a position where you interfere with play.

Offside = keep out of the way. That's an interpretation based precisely on Law.

Dickie E
22-06-07, 05:06
Fair enough. I'll stick with the Saffers and agree to disagree.

Just to check - if Spiers name was Wilkinson and the ref was Walsh, you'd still be of the same view? (I withdraw the question, m'Lud, as it unfairly suggests questionable integrity) :biggrin:

FlipFlop
22-06-07, 10:06
If Spies name was Wilkinson, he would probably have picked up a back injury when he was hit by the ball, so would have gone off injuryed before Walsh had reached for his pocket, so the question is irrelevant :D

jboulet4648
22-06-07, 15:06
Just taking action to get back onside is not the answer, if doing so brings you into a position where you interfere with play.


Only if the player who receives the ball from that ruck has not run 5m. Scenario one player is onside, scenario 2, player is offside.

Green has the ball at a ruck near midfield, and all players are
onside. The ball goes left for a forward charge, which breaks the
gainline by 10m and a ruck quickly forms. The ball comes out quickly
to Green #10 who drifts left 5m and then floats a skip pass out to the
wing. Orange #14 was part of the previous ruck, and so was offside
when the ball came out of this one, but working to get onside when the
pass is thrown. When it is thrown, he has not reached any teammates
or the offside line from the ruck, but turns and intercepts the pass.

Green has the ball at a ruck near midfield, and all players are
onside. The ball goes left for a forward charge, which breaks the
gainline by 10m and a ruck quickly forms. The ball comes out quickly
to Green #10 who immediately passes to Green #12 who drifts left 2m
and then floats a skip pass out to the wing. Orange #14 was part of
the previous ruck, and so was offside when the ball came out of this
one, but working to get onside when the pass is thrown. When it is
thrown, he has just reached his teammates who are onside and coming
forward, he turns and intercepts the pass.

Dixie
25-06-07, 11:06
"Personally I need to see any offside player actively trying to avoid a ball,..."

Love these made-up Laws.

I think it comes to this - is he guilty of loitering given that loitering is defined as "a player who remains in an offside position"? (refer Law 11.9)

In my view a player is not "remaining in an offside position" if he attempts to move directly on-side at a steady pace (fast, slow, crawling on the ground, I don't care)..
Dicke, I know you've already signed off on this line of argument with an "agree to disagree", but I think from reading the thread you are the only person who has actively focused on Law 11.9. I think it bears further examination in this context.


A player who remains in an offside position is loitering. A loiterer who prevents the opposing team from playing the ball as they wish is taking part in the game, and is penalised. The referee makes sure that the loiterer does not benefit from being put onside by the
opposing team’s action.
There is no doubt that Spies prevented the Aussies from playing the ball as they wished (pass from 9 to 10, opening up the overlap). If he is loitering, there is no doubt he is to be penalised. You took the view that he was not loitering.

The concept of loitering flows from 11.8, where it states that an offside player who is retiring as required by law remains offside even when the ruck has ended. Only a kick and a 5m run by the ball carrier can enable him to get back into the game.

In that context, 11.9 goes on to talk about loitering. Having said in Law 11.8 that a retiring player remains offside, 11.9 defines loitering as remaining offside. There can be no doubt under the definition that the retiring Spies was loitering. He prevented the Ausssies from playing the ball as they wished, so was correctly penalised. Having received an earlier warning for repeat offending, this penalty - like the other "benign" penalties (i.e. falling outside Law 10.4) that led up to the warning - is capable of justifying the YC.

I considered the possibility that Gregan aimed at Spies. In real time I thought he had, and my gut said this was contriving an offence, and so play on. The replay though shows that the pass, if it had missed Spies, would have been perfectly placed for the 10 to catch. It is possible that Gregan delayed so that Spies would run into the path of the pass - having read the comments of ST and others about the acceptability of this as a tactic to highlight the loitering, I am no longer sure of my ground in that regard.

Dixie
25-06-07, 11:06
scenario 2, player is offside.
2 - Green has the ball at a ruck near midfield, and all players are
onside. The ball goes left for a forward charge, which breaks the
gainline by 10m and a ruck quickly forms. The ball comes out quickly to Green #10 who immediately passes to Green #12 who drifts left 2m and then floats a skip pass out to the wing. Orange #14 was part of the previous ruck, and so was offside when the ball came out of this one, but working to get onside when the pass is thrown. When it is thrown, he has just reached his teammates who are onside and coming forward, he turns and intercepts the pass.

I disagree Judah. For this to be accurate, you must assume that while the attack has passed away from the ruck, perhaps executed another pass from 10 to 12, run laterally 2m and executed a skip-pass to the wing, the defence has remained static on the offside line of the final ruck. This is unrealistic, so when Orange #14 reaches his advancing onside team-mates, turns and executes the tackle on Green #11, he remains offside, not having reached the line of the back foot of the earlier ruck.

Interestingly, the final paragraph of 11.9 suggests that the ref should ping Orange #14 if he makes the tackle before reaching the back-foot offside line, even if Green #11 has run 5m. I wouldn't want to have to do that in front of 50,000 Saffers!

OB..
25-06-07, 12:06
I'm not clear what point is being argued now.

If a player is technically a loiterer he can be put onside by only 3 things:
1) getting behind the relevant offside line;
2) an opponent running 5 metres with the ball;
3) an opponent kicking the ball.

His team mates cannot put him onside.

Dickie E
25-06-07, 13:06
"He prevented the Ausssies from playing the ball as they wished, so was correctly penalised."

And if he had retired via the blindside it could be argued that that was material because he cuts down Gregan's options and is therefore an infringement.

It then takes a very small step in logic to say that ANY player who is retiring must be loitering and subject to penalty.

Dixie
25-06-07, 13:06
And if he had retired via the blindside it could be argued that that was material because he cuts down Gregan's options and is therefore an infringement.

It then takes a very small step in logic to say that ANY player who is retiring must be loitering and subject to penalty.

I think that's a step too far. If you are retiring and the attackers are unable or unwilling to play the ball, you're fine. As soon as the attack wants to play the ball, the retiring player must take action to avoid limiting their options. This brings us back to Flipflop's point - make like the ref. Step backwards out of the firing line, duck, rush forward to be out of the way of the line of the pass - all are possible. Just carrying on knowign that you'll impinge on attacking options gets you penalised.


I'm not clear what point is being argued now.

If a player is technically a loiterer he can be put onside by only 3 things:
1) getting behind the relevant offside line;
2) an opponent running 5 metres with the ball;
3) an opponent kicking the ball.

His team mates cannot put him onside.

OB - I wasn't arguing any point, other than your last sentence. But I was drawing attention to the last sentence of 11.9, and wondering how the ref can prevent the loiterer from benefitting by being put onside by the action of the opposing team, as required by that last sentence. If it means anything at all, this sentence suggests that putting in a tackle on a player who has run 5m, but who has not yet broken the ruck's offside line, is to benefit from the opponents' action, and as such is to be prevented by the referee. Presumably, the ref does this by blowing for loitering before the attacker can run 5m? Or else it means that contrary to the strict wording of 11.9, allowing the ball carrier to run 5m is not itself sufficient to put the loiterer onside, and the tackler must have crossed the previous ruck's back foot before he can interfere with play. But if that is the case, what is the point of mentioning a 5m run?

OB..
25-06-07, 13:06
Dickie E - the offside player cannot be expected to disappear in a puff of smoke, so the referee has to make a pragmatic decision. Was the offside player making a reasonable effort to avoid interfering with play? Spies wasn't.

OB..
25-06-07, 14:06
Dixie - one contentious application of 11.9 is the quick throw-in. A player who is offside well in front of the kick to touch, waits until the ball is in touch, and then advances so as to prevent a quick throw.

I think the best way to look at it is that it gives the referee the option. Fortunately it does not seem to arise very often.

Obi Wan
03-08-07, 21:08
Over my many years of Reffing, I have had the pleasure of getting to know several of the current and recently current Guinness Premiership Refs. To a man, I believe their decision would have been made on the basis of "At that level NOTHING happens by accident". And so it was with Mr Spies. He was out of position; a gap was in the defence that he should have been guarding so, trying to look like a Sunday School Head Boy, he blocks the passing channel.
Right Decision. Move On.

Dickie E
03-08-07, 23:08
OK, Bwana, you're the (self appointed) boss

Soooorrrrry for having an opinion.

:rolleyes: