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Gandalf
12-10-05, 10:10
Watching Northampton Saints against Newport Dragons last Saturday. And in my new role as 'official ref' :rolleyes: , was trying to understand Mr Spreadbury's decisions.

One in particular, Green fullback chasing back after White winger kicks loose ball forward. Both players full steam just inside the 22 side by side chasing ball, no other players within 15m. Jostle, jostle from both players and ( must admit not too sure exactly what happened from my distance ) both players fall to ground.

Decision was penalty against Green fullback, including a yellow card.

My thoughts were, that if ref thought it was a penalty against green ( presumably ref thought that he either tripped or pulled back rather than shoulder to shoulder ! ) and it waranted a yellow, must have considered a penalty try ??

Jacko
12-10-05, 12:10
Didn't see it myself, but from your description, a pt sounds like a real possibility. Where did the ball end up? He may have been unsure whether the attacker would have reached it before it went into touch/touch in goal/over dead ball line.

Davet
12-10-05, 14:10
I suspect that he did consider it - but perhaps felt that while a try was certainly a distinct possibility it may have fallen short of the test which is "probable".

Gandalf
12-10-05, 14:10
Ball was still on the way to in-goal, but i think was probably reachable before dead ball line.

Guess the question may be would it probably be reachable first by green or white !! My view would be that green thought white was going to get there first, otherwise why commit the offense and drag the white attacker down.

Does that make sense :confused:

Fabio
12-10-05, 14:10
I didnt' see it but, from your description, it doesn't really matter if green would reach it first. Since Mr. Spreadbury thought it was penalty from green, the analysis I believe one has to make is that the only purpose of the green player was to offend, and not reach the ball. So, if the penalty didn't take place, would white reach the ball before it went to touch/touch-in-goal/dead ball line? If the answer is yes, Penalty Try.

Is this interpretation correct? (advisors?) :confused:

ExHookah
12-10-05, 15:10
trying to understand Mr Spreadbury

That could be your first mistake ;)


I've had a similar situation, and I made the same decision as Spreaders. Viewed it as a professional foul, so gave yellow, awarded penalty but felt that there was still too much work for the attacker to do (including the difficult task of gathering a bouncing ball at full speed) to be sure of a try. Now my situation was in Sevens, which theoretically makes a PT more likely, but in my situation they were further out than in the match you described.

Davet
12-10-05, 15:10
Guess the question may be would it probably be reachable first by green or white !!



If but for the foul play a try would probably have been scored then its a PT. However the decision should not be based upon whether, if the offender had not offended, he could have made footrace of it. He did offend and took himself out of the picture. In the same way a player tackling an attacker high can concede the PT even if he could have prevented the try by making a clean tackle.

ExHookah
12-10-05, 15:10
If but for the foul play a try would probably have been scored then its a PT. However the decision should not be based upon whether, if the offender had not offended, he could have made footrace of it. He did offend and took himself out of the picture. In the same way a player tackling an attacker high can concede the PT even if he could have prevented the try by making a clean tackle.

So essentially what we should be considering is if there are other factors that could come into play if you take out the offending player form the equation, correct?

jboulet4648
12-10-05, 20:10
For a Penalty try, I take the person who comitted the infringement entirely out of the picture...erase him. If that person was not there could a try have been scored with about a 75% probability, if yes, I award the PT.

I once was told that if you are reffing at a high level, and being proactive, that this assessor once said there probably should be at least two penalty tries in every US rugby match....while this is kind of a crazy theory, his view was that it was the only way to get players to play within the letter of the law.....


Few examples:

Red offside on a ruck, 6 M out. Blue 9 quick taps, passes off to Blue 1, a hulk of a man, Red 1 and 3 have not retreated to the try line before impeding the progress of Blue 1. Taking Red 1 and 3 out of the picture, there is no one else around to stop Blue 1....PT

Red 14 is attacking, grubbers ahead from about 30 M out. Foot chase between Red 14 and Blue 11. Ball is in in-goal. Red is winning the race, Blue 11 grabs the jersey of red.....no one else is around to tackle Red.....PT

Blue 15 Kicks ahead, Red 15 bobbles ball backwards, as he picks it up, he is tackled by blue 15, 5 M from goal. Blue 14 goes to pick the ball up, but Red 15 holds on waiting for support....PT

Mike Whittaker
12-10-05, 23:10
For a Penalty try, I take the person who comitted the infringement entirely out of the picture...erase him. If that person was not there could a try have been scored with about a 75% probability, if yes, I award the PT.



So you are working on more than the balance of probabilities?
Is that justified?
At least you are not looking for a try beyond reasonable doubt! :)

Simon Thomas
13-10-05, 13:10
Cricket has HawkEye for LBW confirmations, perhaps rugby should have SpreadEye to predict if a try would have been scored and thus a PT awarded ?

tim White
13-10-05, 14:10
We already do, and we carry a whistle whilst doing it.

Mike Whittaker
13-10-05, 16:10
We already do, and we carry a whistle whilst doing it.

"Deadeye" Dick, I presume....

Gandalf
13-10-05, 18:10
So if drawing a box is hand signal for wanting the TV official, wonder what sort of hand signal there would be for calling for 'SpreadEye' :eek:

Jacko
14-10-05, 10:10
So if drawing a box is hand signal for wanting the TV official, wonder what sort of hand signal there would be for calling for 'SpreadEye' :eek:
Similar to the one for dissent methinks!

Deeps
14-10-05, 11:10
For a Penalty try,....could a try have been scored with about a 75% probability, if yes, I award the PT.

Well I am glad somebody who understands probability theory has hung some numbers on it. 'Probable' means diddly squat unless you attach a confidence level to it. I have often thought that referees attach too high a level of confidence that a PT would have been scored but for foul play. I am happy with 75%, it gives credence to rewarding the attackers positive play; 50:50 is too low and an insufficient deterrent to would be foul play, 99.5% means that you are without sufficient commitment to make a bold decision.

OB..
14-10-05, 15:10
I once tried to pin down a senior referee on this point, but he would not play because he was not sure what it would mean. He had a bank of experience, and used that. In his case I thought that was indeed the best way to judge.

I think a figure like 75% is useful for those who are building the bank of experience, and as an aid to consistency. It also stops those who try to argue that "probable" simply means better than 50%. I have always quoted 80%, but the difference from 75% is negligible because the judgement is still subjective - we do not have a probability-ometer.

Originally the laws used the word "undoubtedly", which I take to be more stringent that "probably". Some time between 1949 and 1959, one part of the law was changed to "probably" and a note in 1959 explained when these different criteria were to be used. In 1960 it became "probably" throughout.

Mike Whittaker
14-10-05, 19:10
I once tried to pin down a senior referee on this point, but he would not play because he was not sure what it would mean. He had a bank of experience, and used that. In his case I thought that was indeed the best way to judge.

Wise senior referee not to be drawn. ;)


I think a figure like 75% is useful for those who are building the bank of experience, and as an aid to consistency. It also stops those who try to argue that "probable" simply means better than 50%. I have always quoted 80%, but the difference from 75% is negligible because the judgement is still subjective - we do not have a probability-ometer.

Where do these figures come from.. or have we just made them up? What do they actually mean... a try would definitely be scored on 3 or 4 occasions out of 5? The law says "probably" and I would have thought that is what it meant to be applied? :)


Originally the laws used the word "undoubtedly", which I take to be more stringent that "probably". Some time between 1949 and 1959, one part of the law was changed to "probably" and a note in 1959 explained when these different criteria were to be used. In 1960 it became "probably" throughout.

And here, OB, is where we get the clear difference between 'beyond reasonable doubt' and 'balance of probability'. Both terms are well recognised in law and do not require further refinement. But congratulations to any ref who reckons they can be specific on a decision falling in between any of these criteria... :confused:

OB..
14-10-05, 23:10
The law says "probably" and I would have thought that is what it meant to be applied?
So if you have a useful definition of "probably", please share it with us.

The problem is that people differ quite widely on what it means. All we are trying to do is get some concept that can be shared in order to achieve some level of consistency.

Mike Whittaker
14-10-05, 23:10
So if you have a useful definition of "probably", please share it with us.

The problem is that people differ quite widely on what it means. All we are trying to do is get some concept that can be shared in order to achieve some level of consistency.

personally I would be happy with "more likely than not" or in other words on the balance of probability... Don't think any more required?

jboulet4648
15-10-05, 00:10
I think thats why I chose 75% as a quantitative figure. What is 75% to me is 80% to another, or 70% to someone else, but its a number by which I can establish with someone else in discussion, that if the player who infringed had not been there, at minimum, three times out of 4, a try would have been scored. 75% definitely represents more likely than not. Probably score to me means closer to the 50% range, anything over 50% means probably to me....I think this is slightly too lax an interpretation....

Deeps
15-10-05, 01:10
I look at it another way, that I have a confidence level of .75 that a try would have been scored, not on 3 out of 4 occurrences in the same situation but on this specific occasion, I was satisfied to a 75% probability that a try would have been scored. I don't need to be any more convinced than that, he had a good chance of scoring, not necessarily a guaranteed chance, nor even the best chance but one that I am reasonably happy about without worrying about the consequences of getting flak for awarding a PT. I am rewarding the positive play and punishing the negative without worrying about too stringent a burden of proof.

Perhaps next time the purportrator will realise that the onus is on him not to commit an offence under Law 10 rather than on me to satisfy him and his Captain beyond reasonable doubt that a try would have been scored.

OB..
15-10-05, 02:10
personally I would be happy with "more likely than not" or in other words on the balance of probability... Don't think any more required?I'm afraid I disagree. All the discussions I have had in the society on this suggest the requirement is significanlty more than that - which is why I picked 80%. It means significantly more than an even chance.

Mike Whittaker
16-10-05, 09:10
I'm afraid I disagree. All the discussions I have had in the society on this suggest the requirement is significanlty more than that - which is why I picked 80%. It means significantly more than an even chance.

There is of course a significant difference between 'on the balance of probability' and 'an even chance' . However moving on a little to a practical situation..

I can envisage the referee explaining to the assessor after the game that he had not awarded a PT even though it was more likely that a try would have been scored than not. And then explaining likewise to the captain of that team.

Advice to any ref who wants to listen... In your post match discussion keep it simple. Black or white. Do you think a try would have been scored? Yes or No! Don't dig a hole for yourselves. Of course that is just my view and it is for you to to decide.

(If anyone asks "what happened to the 'probability'?" then that of course is embodied in the "I think". )

OB..
16-10-05, 12:10
I think that is a good way of putting it: "In my judgement a try would have been scored but for the foul play" is close to what the law says, and avoids arguments about the meaning of "probably". It allows some element of uncertainty, but not a lot.

Davet
17-10-05, 14:10
Probability, like reasonable doubt and beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. In this case the ref. If I think the try was probable then I will give the PT. If not I won't. The fact that I did one or the other is the expression of my opinion. The coaches and players of either side are welcome to chat about the pros and cons later in the bar - but all that really matters is the opinion at the time of the bloke (or bird) with the whistle. The more games one refs, the more one watches then the greater the experience of the ref and the more likely his opinion is to be right - whatever that is.

It used to be said in the British Army that decision making was the most important act of an officer. If the decision happened to be right so much the better, but the important thing to do was to actually make one.

OB..
17-10-05, 15:10
Probability, like reasonable doubt and beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. In this case the ref.
So you don't mind referees having quite different interpretations? It is clear from this discussion that there are some significant differences of opinion (in theory, though probably less so in practice).

I agree with you about developing a feeling for this sort of thing, but new referees require a helping hand. I would certainly advise them that if you have to stop and think about it, don't give it.

Mike Whittaker
18-10-05, 00:10
So you don't mind referees having quite different interpretations? It is clear from this discussion that there are some significant differences of opinion (in theory, though probably less so in practice).

I agree with you about developing a feeling for this sort of thing, but new referees require a helping hand. I would certainly advise them that if you have to stop and think about it, don't give it.

Clear simple advice... I agree.

Save the theoretical debate for the training meetings ... and this board :)

Davet
18-10-05, 14:10
Probable = likely to happen, more likely than not.

That seems fairly simple.

If you try to convert that to a %age probability then you simply confuse matters. It is impossible to say whether a particular try would have been 70% probable but for the foul play - was it? Or was it 65%?

There are two things which flow from the discussion so far. The first is that judgement is always subjective, two different p[eople may well hold two different views on whether a try was "more likely than not" (probable), or whether it was a 70% probability. Whichever bar you set then judgement based on individual experience will be the deciding factor.

The second issue is, probably, more important.

By setting the bar at 70% (or even as you suggest 80%) probability, rather than the lower test of "more likely than not" then you are allowing the players to get away with more foul play reather than less. the Law was designed to limit foul play. The Lawmakers, presumably deliberatley and informedly, used the word "probably". Not "highly likely" or "pretty sure" or even reasonably confident". So lets take them at their word and say if a try would probably have been scored then award the PT - and understand probably to mean what the dictionary says it means. If we do that we will follow the lawmakers intentions and positivley discourage this sort of play.

Mike Whittaker
18-10-05, 16:10
Probable = likely to happen, more likely than not.

. So lets take them at their word and say if a try would probably have been scored then award the PT - and understand probably to mean what the dictionary says it means. If we do that we will follow the lawmakers intentions and positivley discourage this sort of play.

Assumiing Davet, that you are agreeing with both OB and myself on the keep it simple principle and that now we are just debating theoretical semantics..

Let me paste in the following definition of probably from Google...

with considerable certainty; without much doubt; "He is probably out of the country"; "in all likelihood we are headed for war"

So I would suggest that whilst it is helpful to suggest using dictionary definitions it is perhaps also helpful to say which dictionary...

If only we had a lawyer on the thread, he would able to tie us all in knots... probably. :D

OB..
18-10-05, 23:10
I have just come back from our monthly meeting. I took advantage of the situation to sample the collective wisdom of those present. I asked what level of probability they would use in practice, giving them the two options: 50/50 (plus a bit) or strong likelihood. Everybody opted for the strong likelihood.

We can argue all day long about nuances of semantics, but in practical terms it appears that referees in Gloucestershire at least are consistent on using something like my 75-80%. That value is, of course, merely an indication of the sort of judgement required. Nobody is suggesting you could actually devise a percentage score.


By setting the bar at 70% (or even as you suggest 80%) probability, rather than the lower test of "more likely than not" then you are allowing the players to get away with more foul play reather than less.
Not at all. We are going to punish the player for his offence; we are merely arguing about the level of punishment. One senior referee did suggest he would reduce his assessment somewhat if he felt that was appropriate in the circumstances, but that was the only homage to the "more likely than not" school.

tim White
19-10-05, 14:10
I am currently working on a number of projects to bring decision making in critical areas up to date with other sports and I list them for your views:-

Co-ordinated Radar and Surface Scanning -(CROSS EYE)

Binary Line Indicating -Notification and Decisions-(BLIND EYE)

Graduated Laser Analysing Sideview Scanner -(GLASS EYE)

4way Laser Aided Digital Indicating Equipment System - EYE (4 LADIES)

Points Indication and Examination -(PIE EYE)

Wide-angle Optical Recording and Monitoring System-(WORM EYE)

I suspect the last one is most promising but the damned worm isn't really quick enough and responds poorly to instructions.

OB..
19-10-05, 15:10
Tim - there is a utility program which utilises all those subroutines:
Primary Objective Program (POP EYE) which derives its power from a specialised algorithm:
Strategic Planning Incorporating Neural Analysis of Conceptual Heuristics (SPINACH). This runs in its own operating environment:
Ontological Linear Involution Verifying Environment (Outside Your Limits) (OLIVE OYL) but there appears to be a bug, currently known as
Balderdash Locutions Utilising Tertiary Obfuscation (BLUTO), so for the moment progress has come to a
Sudden Termination Of Programming (STOP).

Mike Whittaker
19-10-05, 16:10
Apparently in darts they are planning on Digitally Enhanced Analytical Diffraction ...

tim White
21-10-05, 16:10
Hand signal to request technological intervention could only be "Dambusters Goggles". (finger and thumb of each hand form a circle, apply one to each eye, hum Dambusters film theme loudly and swoop around the area in an aeroplane style). Classy.

Glyndwr
20-11-05, 14:11
Something akin to the original question came up in yesterday's Wales v RSA match.

Percy Montgomery was yellow-carded for a head-high tackle on Shane Williams just short of the line, but no PT was given.

I think the yellow was harsh, but couldn't see how it could be given without the PT.

Does anybody have a recording of the game? If so, at what probability level would you assess Williams's chance of scoring the try had he not been tackled?

Account Deleted
29-11-05, 09:11
I find myself watching the play (having kept up with it of course) almost reaching for my notebook and a player is about to score, My mind has, I guess ,assumed that "as long as it's grounded we are getting a try here" This would indicate "probably" to me. If I'm following play and am thinking "can they get this over?" then it's only "possibly". When you bring % figures and stats in remember 40 % of stats are true, 50% are wrong and the other 25% are made up! It's also possible that I probably made that last bit up!