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MartinP
25-08-05, 11:08
I need some help.... Last season we encountered sides who, realising they were being "stuffed" up front in the set piece, claimed one of their front row was "injured" and having no suitable replacement, that the scrums be uncontested.

They then moved the "injured", but very skillfull player into the backs and moved a substituted "non front row expert" into the forwards.

Is this a clever loophole in the laws?

Which IRB law covers this...I have always assumed that the "injured" front row" would have to leave the field of play.

Simon Griffiths
25-08-05, 11:08
I would say that this is not allowed. Generally, a referee may be blamed if teams are feigning injuries in order to bring on un-experienced front-rowers. This is slightly unfair because a referee has to take the player/physio's word for it (otherwise, if he thinks it is being feigned and the player is actually injured then he's in the 'doo').

This situation is different - if the player is injured he has to leave the field of play. If they're getting stuffed up front then tough - any time that they have three experienced front row players they should be in the front row. Obviously he wasn't injured (if he was he MUST leave the field of play), so was obliged to play front row as there were no other suitably qualified front rowers.

I think they should not have done this - I'm not aware of any loophole.

Simon Thomas
25-08-05, 12:08
What age group (Adult / Colts / U14 ?) and skill level of sides were involved ?

If a team coach / captain tells me he has an injured player, I am then required by RFU competition regulations to ask for a suitably skilled and trained replacement - and there are all sorts of regs about how this is done.
IRB Laws cover how the scrum takes place, and RFU regs cover contested / uncontested issues .

If no suitable replacement is available you go to un-contested scrums for safety (Safety - Equity - Law). Based on your match report it is now up to competition organising committee to decide result.

If it is youth game (non-league) I would get the coaches together and discuss the situation - certainly a player unable to continue in front row is injured in some way, therefore in my opjnion any physical contact could result in a a worse injury, therefore from a safety and duty of care point of view he can't play on in the backs !

However remember that outside Leagues / Cups we should be doing all we can to encourage rugby matches to take place and there is a shortage of front rows - so be sensitive to the needs of all 30 players.

Rugbyref
25-08-05, 17:08
At our recent pre season briefing we were advised of the new directives regarding competative matches this coming season, we have been asked as refs to note when matches go uncontested and keep the information, and if asked annotate the match cards to the effect that Team B replaced a front rower at x mins in y half and then on the second occasion (we are talking level 5 & below chaps) could not do so.

It came to light in the East Mids last season that at least one club played a front rower who only went down injured in matches when they were getting beaten. Could be coincidence but I reffed them twice and twice it happened.

The leagues will be reviewing clubs where this is occuring and may take action depending on the frequency of occurences.

As a past club chairman I wish my players could think that fast on their feet in match situations.

As ST states whatever the situation you MUST go uncontested if there is no SR&E replacement. As refs we (thankfully) leave the decisions about consequences to the organising commitees.

Mike Whittaker
25-08-05, 20:08
The leagues will be reviewing clubs where this is occuring and may take action depending on the frequency of occurences.


This is going to be very difficult.... Will they take action just because a club has a weak front row who keep getting injured?
OK. So it may be more than coincidence but what action can they take? And how do they prove it?

The lawyers, amateur and professional, will have a field day.....

didds
26-08-05, 23:08
IME...

its a clear loop hole in the laws, but on H&S grounds the ref MUST allow such subs. In england at least in RFU league matches there MUST be 1 FRR availableb at the 1st time of asking (= "2 injuries" to get to uncontested) and in most cups its 2 FRRs (=3 "injuries" to get to uncontested).

I think the answer for here is as refs you go with H&S, ref the game and report the facts to the league/cup committee to let them sort it out. And if its a friendly the clue is in the title surely!

didds

didds
26-08-05, 23:08
simon - its a loophole in that potentially if getting stuffed the captain then notifies youb that the hooker (say) has injured his neck and must be replaced by a non FR trainied replacement. (leagyue regs aside for now etc)

You might THINK he's telling fibs. But are youi really going to risk your house and livelihood in a court case if he's telling the truth and you have forced said player to play in the fr?

Its not your problem I would suggest. Make the replacement, call the scrums uncontested and if the oppo complain you point out that on H&S grounds you have no option and that they should take it up with the league/cup committee. If its a friendly remind them of the fact.

Then get on with the game.

Didds

(who has "suffered" from this "tactic" but cannot see what else the poor ref is supposed to do).

madref
27-08-05, 08:08
Hello All

I had this happen to me I was refereeing the 2nd XV and a front row player claimed he was injured this happened about 10 minutes into the first half. Next thing I know he is playing for the 1st XV on the opposite pitch.

Was I hard on the uncontested scrums if the ball was not out in a nanosecond they where penilised. The captain soon realised I was not a happy bunny and apologised and then as if by magic a front row appeared from the chaning room who had arrived late!

david

Mike Whittaker
27-08-05, 11:08
Hello All

I had this happen to me I was refereeing the 2nd XV and a front row player claimed he was injured this happened about 10 minutes into the first half. Next thing I know he is playing for the 1st XV on the opposite pitch.

Was I hard on the uncontested scrums if the ball was not out in a nanosecond they where penilised. The captain soon realised I was not a happy bunny and apologised and then as if by magic a front row appeared from the chaning room who had arrived late!

david
...and I sincerely hope it was reported to the relevant body? :rolleyes:

OB..
27-08-05, 12:08
Why did he claim he was injured? My understanding is that provided the games kicked off at the same time, it is legitimate to call in a player from a lower team as a substitute.

Mike Whittaker
27-08-05, 18:08
Why did he claim he was injured? My understanding is that provided the games kicked off at the same time, it is legitimate to call in a player from a lower team as a substitute.

The law does mention nominated front row replacements.... difficult if the player is in another match?

Seem to remember there was some directive discouraging the bringing up of players from other matches being played at the same time... but can't remember where or when..... :confused:

madref
27-08-05, 20:08
He claimed his ribs had been injured and the medic confirmed this suprise suprise, then she claimed he had an ice pack on for 20 minutes more like 20 seconds!

He then appeared in the front Row. Becuase it was an intermediate league game for the 2nd they understand they can play up if the firsts are playing at home, first didn't want to go uncontested becuase they already had 2 front row players injured.

The rules said something along the lines if a 2nd XV player has started the game he must be substitued and can play for the 1st XV except if he is a front row player and there is no front row replacement for 2nd team.

Something along those lines. Nothing happend and player and club got away with it.

David

didds
27-08-05, 21:08
wheras allowing nominated replacements that are featuring in another match nearby might be a way to ensure that maximum games do actually get played rather than tie up front rows warmoing benches for an hour or so ...

didds

madref
27-08-05, 21:08
I agree with the ethos of not having front row players warming up benches and playing as we all love rugby!

But it was the way it was done that annoyed me, so that nobody would loose points.

TJ today and one front row player wanted to carry on when he was clearly not fit the other end of the extream!

Mike Whittaker
28-08-05, 23:08
TJ today and one front row player wanted to carry on when he was clearly not fit .....

Regret I watch all too many games where none of the front rows are fit...

But they do enjoy themselves if only the ref will leave them alone to do so....

:D

madref
29-08-05, 10:08
Mike

I meant as in not fit as a bad rib injury, it was a cup game. Coach wanted him to carry on, medic said ok she was a young girl and coach was a bit over powering.

The front row player wanted to carry on I was the TJ and heard all this, next scrum went straigh down front row player who was injured looked like he was about to die.

Well where does ref stand on this as we are told to go with the medic! anybody with any common sence could see he was unfit


David

Mat 04
29-08-05, 11:08
No, The Referee does not need the advice of the medic, if you believe a player is unfit to continue, you can have him/her leave the field, with or without consent of the Doctor or Coach. As for the coach being over-powering, it should be noted that you are the referee, and your word is final :D

robertti
29-08-05, 11:08
We can argue all we like about the accuracies or otherwise of players feigning being injured or not; especially front row players. But at the end of the day this has got to be an administrative issue. It is not the referees job to decipher whether or not a player is faking injury, and potentially risk legal action against himself if he is incorrect. If a coach asks you, just advise him to speak to the competition regulators about the issue and that it is the referees job to officiate the game on the day, with the available players.

madref
29-08-05, 13:08
Hi

I was the TJ and the referee who did the match was an elite referee of ours. He basically said the same it is not the referee who decides wether a player is fit or not.

His advice which he did on the day was in hear shot as many people as possible, ie the scrum 16 players ask the player in a very loud voice. Are you ok to continue, when the player says yes he just confirmed this. Can I just clarify that you are ok to continue he again said yes, referee has covered his back.

I was refereeing at national schools 7 finals last year with a surgeon from the Royal Navy. The directive he had from the Navy was not to help an injured player or give any advice about the injury.

I thought this was quite unusual so in the bar afterwards I asked him about this, he basically said his insurance didn't cover him for this type of advice plus the RN wouldn't cover him he would be out on a limb.

Of course he would give advice on an injured player and if anything like a swallowed tongue you would be glad of him!

BUT the main thing he said which stuck in my mind is that if you get a senior paramedic they far are more qualified than most doctors to diagnose and treat at the scence of an accident.

David

OB..
29-08-05, 14:08
Law 3.9 If the referee decides with or without the advice of a doctor or other medically qualified person that a player is so injured that the player should stop playing, the referee may order that player to leave the playing area.


This seems to imply that the referee deos not need to follow the advice of the expert if he is unhappy about it.

Mike Whittaker
29-08-05, 19:08
This seems to imply that the referee deos not need to follow the advice of the expert if he is unhappy about it.[/font]
Quite agree with you OB. Personally only ref youth these days and it amazing what some coaches say and do (e.g numbing spray on bad ankle!!) If I have any doubt... off they go!
At senior level.. not up to ref!
In between suggest that conscience and moral responsibility take over..

Davet
01-09-05, 14:09
I think that the referee should - even in top class games - require that a player retire from the field if he is - in the refs opinion - clearly unfit to continue. Players will succumb to pressure from coaches, even from their own pride. If the referee shrugs his shoulders and says simply that its the players decision then he is abrogating his responsibility, and if the player does injure himself , then, the way the law is worded the referee could be held at least partly liable.

However if we come back to the original post on the thread then three things spring to mind.
1) If a FR player declares himself unable to continue in the position then the ref has no choice but to allow his replacement.
2) Howver, such a player should clearly not continue in anaother position - if he is too injured to play FR then he should not take part in a physical contest which could aggravate the problem. So back to the changing room. If he argues then I would simply tell him that its not his decision - see my opening pragraph - and that I am not prepared to be held liable if his bravery causes him to hurt himself. Injured is injured.
3) If they then decide to play a smaller player in an uncontested scrum and move a forward out to the backs - for whatever reason - then that's their choice. Both teams have the optiopn of rearranging their sides as they see fit - since we no longer need trained and experienced front rows. Indeed it would hard to argue if the other side then took off the entire front row and replaced them with backs...

didds
01-09-05, 19:09
Indeed it would hard to argue if the other side then took off the entire front row and replaced them with backs...

... or at least back rows that could lift... errr... support ;-)

didds

brobert
20-09-05, 01:09
In Sydney our competition rules address this by giving the team who can field a competent front row the right to a free kick at scrums when it is their feed if the other team can not contest. This problem rarely occurs. This is a good rule as it encourages contest and teams to manage their affairs to ensure properly trained front rows. I would like to see it adopted in the IRB Laws so the referee is not called on to judge 'fitness' which they are not trained to do.

Robert Burns
20-09-05, 06:09
Sorry, maybe I missed something but I don't see the point?

If it's there put in they are going to win the ball anyway, by giving a choice of a free kick instead are you now not punishing the opposition who may have fielded the correct number of front row players and replacements, but was just very unlucky in the fact that they got injured.

What if a team was winning a game by a close margin, i.e. 3 points, and they then go uncontested due to genuine injury. Is it fair that the team losing gets an advantage of a free kick from which they could more easily score a try.

Another concern is are they allowed to take this free kick quick? blue knocks on, red SH knows it's their scrum runs to the mark, taps ball and runs off to the try line? After all, it is a free kick? Would you penalise the defending team for not being back 10? or make the smarty pants SH take it again?

Mike Whittaker
20-09-05, 08:09
Is it fair that the team losing gets an advantage of a free kick from which they could more easily score a try.



Experience leads me to believe you are right but objectively I can't see why it should be easier to break the defense of a team which doesn't have all 8 forwards tied up in a scrum... and I am assuming that there wouldn't be a quick tap and go, after all when would the ref get a rest?? :)

OB..
20-09-05, 10:09
I would like to see it adopted in the IRB Laws so the referee is not called on to judge 'fitness' which they are not trained to do.Law 3.13 (a) "... It is not the responsibility of the referee to determine the suitability of trained front row replacements nor their availability, as this is a team responsibility. "

It is a curiosity that the laws prescribe the requirements for front row replacements, and then specifically say that it is not a matter for the referee! No sanction is provided, so presumably it is left to the organisers of the competition.

I would be interested in having more details of the Sydney experiment, but my initial reaction is that a team has already suffered some significant injuries - why should they be further penalised? A free kick is clearly more advantageous than a scrum. I also note that if a team is awarded a free kick, they may opt for a scrum - is that allowed in this experiment?

Uncontested scrums are always going to be 'unfair' to someone, but on safety grounds there can surely be no argument about them.