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I cannot speak for captains elsewhere, but it seems to me from experience, that many captains of teams in New England feel that because they are captain, they carry immunity, and can argue calls with the referee, and should not be called for dissent.
Tackle, no ruck when ball pops out of tackle zone. Black player picks up ball, gets leveled in a clean tackle by Blue player, and gets pushed out of bounds. The blue player, approached the black player from a horizontal position, but since there is no ruck, there is no offside line....
Black Captain "Sir he came from the side"
Me: "There was a tackle, no ruck, ball came out of tackle zone"
Black Captain: But sir he came from the side
Me: "Ball came out of tackle zone"
Black Captain (Louder): "Sir he came from the side, if your not going to call dangerous play....."
Me: Whistle, Penalty Primary Signal, Dissent penalty secondary signal
"Captain, back ten please, ball was out of tackle zone, I am not arguing with you"
Black Captain: "But I am the captain?"
Me: " Yes, but that does not give you permission to argue with me"
Black Captain: "But I am the captain!"
I blame Gregan and Dallaglio.
There's a line between asking a question so they can explain it to their team, and disputing every single little thing.
On the suggestion of someone on this forum (can't remember who) I sometimes now add "any questions through you captains, but we're just doing question-answer-move on, no debates during the match, OK?". It actually seems to work most of the time.
Will be sure to include that in my captains meeting from now on!
I have been using a new brief this season which has worked reasonably well so far. My last couple of points to the two Captains are 'Please encourage your players to respect the authority of the referee, not me personally but someone has to blow the whistle and today it is me.
As skipper I expect you to accept and support referee decisions whether you agree with them or not. Remember I have to call what I see, not what you see. Are we agreed?'
In the situation you describe you can then remind him of this conversation and that you had an agreement and are depending on him to live up to it. Another tack is to ask the Captain to 'Please lead your team like "General" [I use Sean Fitzpatrick as my example whom I rate as one of the best national skippers of recent years] and not like...[here you can insert the name of a famous wingeing lowlife, your choice.]
It's a bit of a put down but you are asking him to demonstrate proper leadership not his ability to debate. Leadership is often sadly missing on the rugby field where sometimes the best player is erroneously elected Captain or it may be the only man who can be bothered to collect the match fees/subs. It is high time the IRB put together a training package to deal with the problem.
Deeps, I like your logic!
As Deeps suggested, I try to get an agreement, some sense of common purpose. I tell the captains I want to work with them to get the best game possible out of the other 28. I'm happy to have constructive conversations with them; disputes are not part of that. Discipline is their responsibility -- while I can help with penalties, admonishments, and cards, keeping their players focused on playing ball is up to them.
That's the attitude I try to start every game with... And then you find yourself with a handful of thugby players, and it all goes out the window.
I was reminded last weekend that the captain isn't the only leader. Captain was #10; #8 was doing an awful lot of leading up front, calling his men back on side, getting their hands out of the ruck, telling his players not to complain and not call the game. I worked with him, quietly, almost as much as I did with the captain. The two of them were a real pleasure to have on the field.
I have always told the captains that they and I are the third team on the field. We should work together, I guess I need to break it down farther and tell them that arguing is not working together.
Do you speak to the captains separate of each other? Because that "we're the third team" isn't going to work. You and each captain should work together, but the third captain isn't a factor in that relationship.
I also question the logic of outlining the expectations of the captain - if he/she doesn't know that stuff by now, (s)he never will. It's a little late to teach them that.
Lay out your expectations to them - not your needs.
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