View Full Version : Positioning

Red Munster
02-02-04, 12:02
I would like to get your advice on the art of positioning.

As a starter, I was watching Alain Rolland refereeing the Leicester v Stade Francais game on Friday nite and his positioning wasn't all that it might have been.

On one occasion, Stade were on the Leicester line, a ruck had formed and Rolland was on the fringe of the ruck, practically obscuring the defending players vision and possibility of covering. The Stade player picked up the ball and ran (intelligently!) towards the side where the ref was. He touched down at the ref's feet and was awarded the try. The defending players could not have stopped him as Rolland was physically in the way and was probably obscuring their vision too. I don't know if I have explained this properly but if you saw the game, you may remember the incident. Also, it might have been Leicester attacking rather than Stade!

On another occasion, at a lineout, the ball was thrown to the back of the lineout. In fact, I think it went over the 15 metre mark. When the player caught the ball from his own hooker's throw, he was a good 2 or 3 metres on his side of the lineout, but the ref didn't signal anything. It should have been a crooked throw in, but where the ref was standing, he couldn't see whether it was or not. This also begs the question as to why the touch judge didn't communicate with him.

There was another maul that collapsed over the line in the Munster v Bourgoin match that Tony Spreadbury gave as a 5 metre scrum to the attacking team - Munster. He said the ball was held up. From his viewpoint, he couldn't see the ball as it was on the far side of the ruck but he didn't run around the ruck to get a better view. Anthony Foley's reaction at the referee's decision suggested that he wasn't too pleased with it.

02-02-04, 13:02
With regard to the Rolland incident (which I didn't see), I am an advocate of the "get in, get out" school of positioning. Get to the breakdown, find the ball, determine who's going to win it and then back off five or ten paces, while still watching the ruck. This makes it easy to control the offside lines; you're still close enough to communicate with/see any infringements by the rucking forwards and you're not in any danger of blocking the defending guards close to the breakdown. If the ball comes wide, step neatly into one of the gaps and just let the defensive line come past you. Try it - this was suggested to me at half-time one of my first advised matches in my career as a ref, and the second half was so much easier, I've done it in every game since!

However , as with all things ref related, it's not an exact science and the players will do pretty much as they like, inevitably confounding your good intentions. I find I'm constantly getting better at reading and predicting the game, and as my experience grows, I get caught out less often. It sounds to me like Rolland just got caught out, which happens even to the best of us!

WRT Spreaders - can't see it, can't give it. Stuff what Foley thinks! Can't even go to the TMO in the pool stages...

Account Deleted
10-02-04, 22:02
I Saw the Leicester V Stade incident with the try when the ref was simply awful. He took out Stade defenders and by virtue of his positioning could not see a Leicester player take out a Stade attacker. He was badly positioned and it was typical of his handling of the game..POOR for a International ref.

Robert Burns
18-02-04, 23:02
I never saw the game, but we all have a game(s) where we know we were not at our best.