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Red Munster
25-02-04, 18:02
Law 8.1

(a) The referee is sole judge of whether or not a team has gained an
advantage. The referee has wide discretion when making decisions.

(b) Advantage can be either territorial or tactical.

(c) Territorial advantage means a gain in ground.

(d) Tactical advantage means freedom for the non-offending team to play
the ball as they wish.

8.2 WHEN ADVANTAGE DOES NOT ARISE
The advantage must be clear and real. A mere opportunity to gain
advantage is not enough. If the non-offending team does not gain an
advantage, the referee blows the whistle and brings play back to the
place of infringement.


I pasted in these laws to put the following in context.

In one of last weekend's 6N matches, Team A knocked on in Team B's 22. Team B gained possession and the ref shouted "Advantage" at around the same time. Team B kicked the ball up the field. At what seemed like the moment when the player kicked the ball, the ref shouted "Advantage over" without waiting to see where the ball had gone. In that case, I think it went into touch, which was fine because they probably would have done the same thing from a scrum.

On another occasion, I think it was in a different match, the same scenario occurred but in this case when the player kicked the ball, the ref waited until the ball was caught about 40 metres down the pitch and then shouted "No advantage, scrum to Team B".

My query is: why did the first ref shout "Advantage over" straight away even though he couldn't have known what direction the ball was going in just as the player kicked it? Surely the act of kicking the ball up the field is not an advantage in itself.

SimonSmith
25-02-04, 23:02
I didn't see it, but can apply some advantage generalizations/questions.

In the first scenario, was the kicker under any pressure? If he had time, and took a considered decision to kick, as opposed to a similar situation where he is pressurized to kick, then I'd probably apply a different yardstick.

The pithy answer to your question - and I'm being facetious - is "it's over when you decide it is". The more you want to go up the grades, particulalry I think in the middle grades, your judicious use of advantage will either earn you massive points, or lose you pints with the assessors.

There is no hard and fast rule about when/if advantage is over. Nor should there be.

didds
26-02-04, 10:02
exactly.

Its an area of simple inconsitency - but its such a "simple" case that the IRB should be able to pass down a ruling such that all rewfs call this the same way.

Similarly we had the issue of Drop Goal attempts fro advantage during the RWC - in partcular one J.Wilkinson.

JW had attempted DGs at penalty advantage on several occassions during the pool strages, and any misses were called back for the original penalty ie no advantage.

However, versus Samoa (IIRC? Wales?), different ref, a similarly missed DG attempt during a penalty advantage was called advantage ovber and a 22 drop out awarded.

Now - I understand that its up to the ref etc as defeined within the laws.

But surely its ridiculous to have two differing answers for exactly the same circumstance?

(FWIW, IMO the missed DG scenario isn't advantage over as the missed DG has afforded neither territorial nor tactical advantage (especially if the DG attempt is made within the 22 area itself) )

didds

didds
26-02-04, 10:02
not sure simon... whether under pressure or not, whether taking time for the line kick or not... the sole criteria for advantage is territorial or tactical gain. Not "did he have a choice" or "should he have done better" . Kicking the ball - no matter how badly - down the oppo's throat is not tactically advantageous, nor is is really territorial ie the territory gain will radily diminish as the ball id run back (or even kicked back!).

Just because a side "wastes" an opportunity should not be reason to disallow advantage... and after all... what's the worst "crime" ... the offside/cheating at the ruck or the poorly directed kick? Who should benefit ultimately?

didds

Davet
26-02-04, 12:02
not sure simon... whether under pressure or not, whether taking time for the line kick or not... the sole criteria for advantage is territorial or tactical gain. Not "did he have a choice" or "should he have done better" . Kicking the ball - no matter how badly - down the oppo's throat is not tactically advantageous, nor is is really territorial ie the territory gain will radily diminish as the ball id run back (or even kicked back!).

Just because a side "wastes" an opportunity should not be reason to disallow advantage... and after all... what's the worst "crime" ... the offside/cheating at the ruck or the poorly directed kick? Who should benefit ultimately?

didds

Advantage may be tactical or territorial.

If after a knock-on the non-offending side gain possession and sufficient time and space to play the ball as they wish to I can see that being a tactical advantage. If they then waste that tactical advantage by poor execution then that is surely their problem?

It can be a very fine judgement. How much time and space did they have?
If they had a three on one overlap immediately available, but chose instead to kick, was the original overlap a "tactical advantage"?

It is also worth mentioning, though I am sure all are aware of it, that the bar for advantage would be higher for a penalty offence than for a scrum or FK offence.

Pablo
26-02-04, 13:02
For what it's worth, I would always wait to see where a kick came down before calling advantage over. Like didds points out, if it goes straight down the throat of a waiting opponent, he now has time and space to run it back, so there's no territorial gain there. Come back for the original offence. I saw the match in question and remember the incident well. While I applaud the ref for wanting to play advantage and keep the flow of the match going, it was quite frustrating how easily satisfied he was that advantage had been taken.

HOWEVER, I have to admit to getting it wrong myself in the past. I've fallen foul of such wonderful decisions as calling the end of advantage, only to have the offending team intercept the very next pass and race 80 metres to score under the posts! So, it's tricky, but it's down to each individual ref to assess every aspect of the situation - the nature of the game so far, the offence for which advantage is being played, the pressure applied to the non-offending team, whether the restart will really favour the non-offending team (is bringing back a knock-on going to help a team that has been weak in the scrum?), etc... This may smack of inconsistency, but I really think it's the best system going. Handing down diktats from on high would complicate things and make matters far, far worse.

Deeps
26-02-04, 13:02
One of the beauties of advantage is that it allows the non offending side to try something that might otherwise be a little risky, safe in the knowledge that if they do not benefit from it then they will at least get the scrum or whatever. It's important that we allow advantage to flow but the algorithm that decides what constitutes an advantage is anything but easy to decide considering the variables that it contains.

I mentioned the problem below in another thread but it got buried in the weeds and nobody bit. Help me out here guys, I have got Mr Stroppy as Captain to deal with this weekend so need a response!

For several seasons now we have had it reinforced that an attacking team knock on in goal results in a 5 metre scrum to the defenders, regardless as to whether the defenders have touched it down or not following the knock on. Law 22.12 provides for this with a 5 metre defending scrum; the inference being that a 22 metre drop out by the defence as an advantage gained from recovering and touching down the ball from the knock on is too great a penalty to the attacking side for a simple knock on.

Yet, if the defence knocks on in goal following pressure from the attacking side which then recover the ball and score, is that not a fairly won advantage from the pressure applied?

To be consistent with the application of Law 22.12 for the attackers then Law 22.13 should be applied equally for the defence with an award of a 5 metre scrum to the attacking team. The attackers may need some consolation here having been denied the advantage and the try. I would be interested in how others might play advantage in this situation yet remain consistent for both teams?

SimonSmith
26-02-04, 15:02
One of the beauties of advantage is that it allows the non offending side to try something that might otherwise be a little risky, safe in the knowledge that if they do not benefit from it then they will at least get the scrum or whatever. It's important that we allow advantage to flow but the algorithm that decides what constitutes an advantage is anything but easy to decide considering the variables that it contains.

I mentioned the problem below in another thread but it got buried in the weeds and nobody bit. Help me out here guys, I have got Mr Stroppy as Captain to deal with this weekend so need a response!

For several seasons now we have had it reinforced that an attacking team knock on in goal results in a 5 metre scrum to the defenders, regardless as to whether the defenders have touched it down or not following the knock on. Law 22.12 provides for this with a 5 metre defending scrum; the inference being that a 22 metre drop out by the defence as an advantage gained from recovering and touching down the ball from the knock on is too great a penalty to the attacking side for a simple knock on.

Yet, if the defence knocks on in goal following pressure from the attacking side which then recover the ball and score, is that not a fairly won advantage from the pressure applied?

To be consistent with the application of Law 22.12 for the attackers then Law 22.13 should be applied equally for the defence with an award of a 5 metre scrum to the attacking team. The attackers may need some consolation here having been denied the advantage and the try. I would be interested in how others might play advantage in this situation yet remain consistent for both teams?

Deeps, I'm not sure I understand your problem, so let me see if I can set out what I understand the situation to be.

Attacking team knocks on in goal. You can play advantage; if none is attained, then you go with the scrum 5, defending put in. My personal view, FWIW , is that it's a scrum and not a 22m drop because it protects the defending side. A 22m drop can be a lottery, whereas they're guaranteed possession from their own scrum.

So, defending side knocks on in goal. Play advantage. If the attacking team grounds the ball, then a try is scored. I can't find anything in the advantage law that precludes that from happening. If no advantage is gained, then scrum 5, attacking put in:
22.13 DEFENDING INFRINGEMENT WITH SCRUM PENALTY
If a defending player infringes in in-goal, for which the penalty is a scrum,
for example, a knock-on, play is restarted with a 5-metre scrum. The
scrum is formed in line with the place of the infringement and the
attacking team throws in the ball.

Doesn't this address your point, or have I missed something?

Deeps
26-02-04, 18:02
Simon,

Should the defenders recover the ball in goal following an attacking side knock on and touch it down (i.e. attackers have carried into in goal, defenders touch down), current direction is that a defending side 22m drop out is potentially too great an advantage and unnecessarily penalises the attackers hence scrum 5 defending ball. Whereas in the reverse case, it is difficult not to award the try following attackers touching down a recovered defence knock on. This does not seem to be consistent application of advantage. How would you rule in each circumstance or what do you understand to be the correct approach here?

SimonSmith
26-02-04, 19:02
Simon,

Should the defenders recover the ball in goal following an attacking side knock on and touch it down (i.e. attackers have carried into in goal, defenders touch down), current direction is that a defending side 22m drop out is potentially too great an advantage and unnecessarily penalises the attackers hence scrum 5 defending ball. Whereas in the reverse case, it is difficult not to award the try following attackers touching down a recovered defence knock on. This does not seem to be consistent application of advantage. How would you rule in each circumstance or what do you understand to be the correct approach here?

You and I may disagree about the 22m drop out. You think that awarding a 22 drop penalizes the attacking side too much. I'm not sure I agree with that. I think that the consideration is that a 22m drop places the kicking side at too much risk of losing the ball. A defending scrum is - in theory - a more secure way of securing the ball, and is consistent with the offence - a knock on.

There is also a logic I think that supports my theory! A kock on occurs in goal by the attacking side, and no advantage is gained. You are then making an award based on an offence - which is a knock on. Award is therefore a scrum.

Look at this way - if a player knocks the ball on into touch, what do you award? I always award the scrum for the knock-on, and not the line-out for touch. I think there is a similarity between that and the situation that you outline.

In short - if no advantage is gained, how can the award be a 22m drop out? And in the second situation, I would award the try if the defenders knocked on and an attacker grounded the ball.

Deeps
26-02-04, 21:02
As it was explained to me, if the defence recover the ball following an attacking knock on in goal, then any play which gains the defending side an advantage, with the specific exception of touching it down leading to a drop out, is the defined advantage. Touching it down potentially gains too great an advantage for the defence for the relatively minor offence of knocking on. I would think that many defending sides would much prefer a 22m drop out than a scrum at 5m. If this is not the approach others are lead to believe is correct then I am only too happy to conform and will accept the defending touch down as advantage and award the 22m drop out. I am ready to be persuaded.

SimonSmith
26-02-04, 21:02
As it was explained to me, if the defence recover the ball following an attacking knock on in goal, then any play which gains the defending side an advantage, with the specific exception of touching it down leading to a drop out, is the defined advantage. Touching it down potentially gains too great an advantage for the defence for the relatively minor offence of knocking on. I would think that many defending sides would much prefer a 22m drop out than a scrum at 5m. If this is not the approach others are lead to believe is correct then I am only too happy to conform and will accept the defending touch down as advantage and award the 22m drop out. I am ready to be persuaded.

Now I'm really confused. Either I'm misunderstanding, or I haven't explained myself.

Law is specific - a knock by the attackers in goal, or over the goal line, results in a defending scrum 5m out - if no advantage has been gained, tactically or territorially.

I argue that to award a 22m would NOT be an advantage to the defending side. The chances of the opposition regaining the ball are too great. Defending scrum - more or less gauarnteed possession. 22m drop out - significantly less percentage chance of regaining the ball.

Maybe we should look at it differently. If the attackers knock on, and the ball is then grounded by the defenders, you can argue that they are declining the advantage and opting for the scrum.

I'm afraid I don't see where the 22m drop becomes an issue.

Maybe try less syllables for me - I've been in America for a long time!

Deeps
26-02-04, 23:02
It's OK, I think I follow your reasoning; I'll digest awhile. Perhaps this is an excuse for a discussion over a pint or two of Pink Chablis!

I recently made contact with the Charleston (SC) Outlaws with whom I had the pleasure of coaching and playing with a few moons hence. Good spirit, lots of enthusiasm and camp followers to die for. I expect they are a bit out of your way?

SimonSmith
27-02-04, 13:02
It's OK, I think I follow your reasoning; I'll digest awhile. Perhaps this is an excuse for a discussion over a pint or two of Pink Chablis!

I recently made contact with the Charleston (SC) Outlaws with whom I had the pleasure of coaching and playing with a few moons hence. Good spirit, lots of enthusiasm and camp followers to die for. I expect they are a bit out of your way?

I'd look forward to that!

A little far. but no so far as you'd think. My average drive for a game is 2 hours, and our top team in the State - Charlotte - who join us next season are a whopping 8 hours drive. Exchange games are usually a flight or a LONG drive.

Did you ever make it to the Cape Fear 7s?

Deeps
27-02-04, 14:02
We didn't travel much outside SC as I recall although would think nothing of driving 200 miles or so for a game. We would have to find a field, use lime to mark it out and hoist our own posts. Games could be ferocious but in true spirit the apres game was something else. First of all one of the girls would rent a motel room and the entire team would troop through and use the shower. Then the inevitable Budweiser van with an array of taps both sides linked up to barrels on the inside; songs I have not heard the like of since with the embarrassment when the girls took the third verse; hospitalisation with a haematoma (bruise on the bone) with the threat that if I was not in bed within 5 minutes they might have to take my leg off, the alcoholic visits in hospital by the entire team and all the wives and girl friends. No, I don't miss it much at all!

I remember the State Championships where each team would have a 5 nations or Southern hemisphere ex pat lurking somewhere inevitably in a coaching/refereeing role whether you liked it or not. The enthusiasm was always there, it was just the need to channel it and pass on your own rugby experience in addition to that of one's father and grandfather. My guess is that the sport is considerably better developed in the States now although perhaps it may need professional status if a higher level of competition is required.

These were good times and I am sure little has changed since although I would love to tour the South again as a C1 on the loose to see for myself. I am very envious of the opportunities you must have and reading between the lines of the web sites I have visited, I get an impression of a well regulated referee set up. Is the general knowledge of law reasonably good among players and are there any significant differences in referee interpretation? A short answer will do unless you feel like doing an article for Whistlestop?

SimonSmith
27-02-04, 14:02
These were good times and I am sure little has changed since although I would love to tour the South again as a C1 on the loose to see for myself. I am very envious of the opportunities you must have and reading between the lines of the web sites I have visited, I get an impression of a well regulated referee set up. Is the general knowledge of law reasonably good among players and are there any significant differences in referee interpretation? A short answer will do unless you feel like doing an article for Whistlestop?

Duncan Pine spent some time in Georgia, and will probably have some perspective. I'll happily do something for Whistlestop, because it is a real culture shock. No changing rooms, marking your own pitch.

In short - if America gets serious about this sport, they'll be a major force. Things that are holding them back: money (obviously), quality of homegrown referees (the good ones are really good, but the bad ones...), and coaching.

Where do I send the Whistlestop thing?

Deeps
27-02-04, 18:02
Duncan Pine spent some time in Georgia, and will probably have some perspective. I'll happily do something for Whistlestop, because it is a real culture shock. No changing rooms, marking your own pitch.

In short - if America gets serious about this sport, they'll be a major force. Things that are holding them back: money (obviously), quality of homegrown referees (the good ones are really good, but the bad ones...), and coaching.

Where do I send the Whistlestop thing?

I do agree with you on the prospects for the sport in the colonies but we shall have to wait until it grips the nation and becomes financially viable to support. If they chucked the same energy into rugby that goes into either of their two national field sports then they could become world beaters I am sure.

I have attempted to send you a private email with points of contact for your proposed Whistlestop article. I look forward to an interesting read.

SimonSmith
27-02-04, 19:02
I have attempted to send you a private email with points of contact for your proposed Whistlestop article. I look forward to an interesting read.

No joy I'm afraid.
Simon Thomas has my ctc details