View Full Version : Advantage

Account Deleted
12-01-06, 22:01
Can anyone tell me when Law 8 (advantage) was first included i nthe Law book?
We have a guy on a local site (he must have refereed in the 1960s or 1970s) who says that when he refereed there was no advantage Law.

13-01-06, 13:01
Advantage has always been an integral part of the game. In the early days, there were no officials, and questions as to the legality of certain plays would be resolved between the two captains on the field. Law 59 of the first RFU Laws (1871) says: "The Captains of the respective sides shall be the sole Arbiters of all disputes." No captain would make a claim if his team had gained an advantage.

When umpires (referees came later) were introduced, no decision would be given unless a captain appealed. At the first international match between England and Scotland, there was a dispute over a try that lasted about 10 minutes. Each side had appointed an Umpire, but the views of the English umpire, A Ward, are not recorded. The Scottish umpire, Dr HH Almond, Headmaster of Loretto, awarded the try, and came out with his famous aphorism: "I must say, however, that when an umpire is in doubt, I think he is justified in deciding against the side which makes the most noise. They are probably in the wrong."

Appealing was abolished in 1896, but I don't have a note as to how advantage was handled then. It was certainly in the laws by 1926, and my copies of the laws of 1949 and 1959 both have more or less the modern version. However it is not in a separate Law at that time, but part of several others. The general statement is under the criteria for a referee to blow his whistle. By 1974 Law 8 Advantage was in the book, so it was probably introduced in the 1969 re-write.

Simon Griffiths
13-01-06, 17:01
So really all the whinging and moaning is just a return to rugby's roots!? :D

13-01-06, 17:01
Not by a long chalk: in the nineteenth century, several internationals were cancelled because of disputes between the countries. Indeed that is how the IRB (originally just the "International Board") came to be formed by Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

Scotland disputed a winning score by England in 1884. One of the Scots had knocked the ball back just before the try by England. Scotland claimed that play should have stopped for what was in Scotland regarded as an infringement.

Both sides believed they were playing to RFU rules. The RFU replied that the match had been played in England, and so the difference in interpretation should be resolved as it always had been in England: only a knock forward was an infringement.

The Irish referee (who had played for Ireland against Scotland the previous year) agreed with England. He also gave his version of the advantage law: "[...] if the knocking back were lawful there is no ground for an appeal; if unlawful the English team had a right to take advantage of the mistake."

In an attempt to resolve the dispute, the Scots eventually agreed to concede the match provided England joined the International Board. After arbitration, England did so, but with 6 votes to 2 each for the others so that they could not be out-voted. They pointed out that they had significantly more players and clubs than the others combined. They probably also still felt it was "their" game.

Account Deleted
13-01-06, 23:01
Thanks Guys!

Glad to see we have a few from WW Ellis's day still with us;)

Robert Burns
14-01-06, 02:01
I have to admit OB your knowledge of the history of the game is both outstanding and interesting

16-01-06, 16:01
Appealing was abolished in 1896

In which case someone should tell Gregan, Dawson, Dallaglio et al.

They clearly missed that memo.

tim White
17-01-06, 16:01
I have three responses to appeals from players etc.

I ignore them.
No, play on, if guidance seems appropriate.
I agree, thats why I blew the whistle.

You will all note that appeals from 'senior players' in a team are always regarded as correct by their junior associates. I try very quickly to correct or explain strange law interpretations, top of my list are - 'you are only picking up on their infringements', and 'you seem to be missing the first infringement'.

17-01-06, 17:01
Maybe worth adding another Tim. Something along the lines of "I've got a headache - shut up".

17-01-06, 19:01
Or include it as part of your pre brief as "if anyone appeals, I have a tendency to go deaf and blind for a short time"

Wert Twacky
17-01-06, 19:01
Jacko - I like it.

I picked up a tip from someone who anaylised what the Aussie ref Paul Honiss (I think) says, and it works for me as the players at least appreciate I've acknowledged their "grievance", even though I still maintain selective deafness and chose with interest what I'll process in the old grey matter.

Honiss says "I'll take a look - thanks".

Short, polite and to the pint. Keeping it simple - how I like it ;)

17-01-06, 20:01
Short, polite and to the pint.

When did we start discussing my post-match routine?

18-01-06, 12:01
The Paul Honiss approach may work at top level, but in the local park it will not stop players trying to "help".

I am very much in favour of making it quite clear that you do not want such comments from players. They should be playing the game, not refereeing it.

Wert Twacky
18-01-06, 12:01
Jacko - what a fortunate typo!

OB - perhaps I didn't explain myself. I have a habit of getting toungue-tied or rabbling sometimes when players question decisions, so therefore I'm trying not to let myself get engaged in a debate with the captain/players.
If a player poinst out something that he feels is wrong, I try an reply to the effect that I've understood his grievence, and will take it on board.
I find something along the lines of Honiss's "I'll take a look -thanks", can help.

Of course there are going to be occasions when this approach won't be suitable, but it stops me trying to justify myself to players and then getting engrossed in a debate - that's all ;)

18-01-06, 13:01
In my brief to skippers I ask that they encourage their players to respect decisions, not me personally but that someone has to blow the whistle and today it happens to be me - bearing in mind that I may see something completely differently to what they see but that they should support decisions anyway. Finally, decisions are not available for discussion during the game.

On the field when I get help I use expressions such as:

'Let me play the advantage' or more strongly, 'Do you not want me to play advantage then?' or

'I really don't need the help thanks, it's much appreciated but I am fully qualified'.

When it is becoming a little wearing, even after having had a word with the appropriate skipper, and in extremis I have been known to call for an amnesty 'I promise not to make any comments about your poor performance, your lack of skill or abysmal fitness levels if you do the same for mine?' This is only one step away from a team warning.

On a lighter note, the other day one of the skippers had a word and asked that I keep an eye on the straightness of the throw into the line out. As his hooker was about to throw in, I approached and stated that his skipper was worried about his throw in and had asked me to keep an eye on it. Giggles all round but the other hooker got the message too.

18-01-06, 14:01
Deeps - sounds good to me!

18-01-06, 15:01
I tend to lean towards Deeps approach, and I do use a bit of the Honnis as well. I'll respond with "I'll keep an eye on it", which I find gives the impression that you're already watching, rather than "I'll take a look".

After reading comments on here I added in something to my captains chat. I tell them that if they have a question then they as captains can ask me for clarification. I point out that it will be a case of Question, Answer, and the back to the game. If they want a debate on laws and interpretations then we'll have that after the match, not during. Then I ask for agreement (something else form this forum) and then if needed I can remind the captains of our agreement.

I'm always open to tweaking and perfecting the chat though, and comments on this forum are helping me learn new ideas.

18-01-06, 16:01
So the original topic of advantage has now been over-ruled by dealing with backchat. In which case, there is a great powerpoint slideshow called "Managing the Coach and Captain", which I can't find anymore and even if I did I can't post b/c Robert hasn't allowed *.ppt files to be uploaded...yet!

Highly agree with Deeps' idea of shortening advantage- players learn quickly to keep their comments to themselves once you start ending advantage for dissent. Similarly, every time a team asks "Am I ten, sir?" the answer will always be "No, 2 more metres", after the 4th time they will then understand that I'll always say "No" whether they're 10m or not!

One great gem that I now use in my pre-match brief is "Trust my judgement and play your own game". Jon Kaplan used it in the Autumn internationals, and I think it sums everything up eloquently with minimal use of words. I will also use it throughout the match if teams begin to be chatty.

I feel uncomfortable saying things like "I'll keep an eye on it", as these usually follow the question of "Sir, can you watch so-and-so", which frankly 95% of the time I'm unwilling to do, and I won't lie to appease them.

Everyone these days seems to think that the captains have a right to question the referee- in fact this is a fallacy. NOBODY has this right, as "the referee is the sole judge of fact and law within the playing enclosure". We are communicating with captains b/c we want them to understand why we are making the decisions and hopefully prevent their team from making the same infringements later on- just as we need to communicate to the captains, so should the captains need to communicate to players! This is often overlooked, but it is such a crucial part of the match!

There's my 2 cents, and hopefully this has added to the great stuff posted above.


Chris Picard
18-01-06, 20:01
I use "Thank you, back ten", if that does not work, I reach into the pocket as I call the captian over for a little, "please keep your side under control, I really would prefer not to use these." Then I show him or her the cards.

18-01-06, 23:01
I don't have (or haven't yet) an issue with the teams asking if they are ten metres, I always point to someone that's behind the guy who's asking, (so far there always has been), and say on him, that way I'm not giving in to the questioner. Normally this question comes when the penalty takers are being on the slow side.

I also on advantage tell the players, when I can see an available ball at a ruck or maul whilst advantage is being played, the advatage is over if it comes out clean, if I deem that they have had the advantage of course. What has happened no end of times seems to be me saying Ad over and at the same moment they knock it on.
Can't use this all the time but seems to crop up several times through a game. Not sure how this will work as I go to higher games though.
Now before you ask this is not a yard stick it's something I've used because the oppurtunity is there rather than waiting for the ball then calling.
I suppose (looks like I'm talking to myself now I must go to bed), that this gives the S/H the oppurtunity to knock on at the Ruck/Maul....::rolleyes: :

19-01-06, 01:01
Advantage should provide a team with slightly more than they would have reasonably expected from taking the scrum or kick.

Clean possession for a penalty offence fails that test - they would expect to gain ground AND possession otherwise.

19-01-06, 09:01
i agree the point I was making badly was I try and indicate that the advantage is over, where appropriate at a ruck or maul, but I realise that this does not always occur in a timely manner.
The old "what would the skipper want" is still in the backof my mind.

19-01-06, 14:01
OB - sort of - but if they gain 25m and a good field position then I would say that is probably at least as good as a 20 - 25m kick to touch followed by a line out - where frankly possession is not guaranteed. Not at top level (avge I guess about 80% - you will probably have stats, so i am prepared to be corrected), and most certainly not at mine - where I would estimate lineouts are probably no better than 60% won by the throwers, if I include "not straight" as a loss. Of that 60% only about half of the time do the winners get good, quick, & clean possession.

Brian Ravenhill
19-01-06, 14:01
The best time to call advantage over is as the non-offending side touch down for a try, and make it loud enough for the Clipboard Charlies to hear.

19-01-06, 14:01
The best time to call advantage over is as the non-offending side touch down for a try, and make it loud enough for the Clipboard Charlies to hear.

Indeed - whether in fact you were actually playing advantage at the time is probably irrelevant.:D

Brian Ravenhill
19-01-06, 14:01
Generally for me advantage is over when if a scrum would have been the other option, two clean and un-hurried passes have been completed. Thats as much as any team can realisticly expect from a scrum. 9 to 10, 10 to 12 'Advantage Over'

Advantage for a penalty offence is very different. At the start of the game have the non offending side gained 10m and still got clean posession of the ball to allow two clean and un-hurried passes have been completed. As the game proggesses this may well change as you read the paterns of play and what each side does at thier penalty kicks.
In the red zone ie the attacking 22 (and if the non-offending team has a good kicker a cone to the centre spot from the corner flags), unless the side scores a try or drop goal before they lose posession advantage is still being played, at this I remaind them at every opportunity 'Still Playing Penalty Advantage Green'.

19-01-06, 17:01
The best time to call advantage over is as the non-offending side touch down for a try, and make it loud enough for the Clipboard Charlies to hear.

How about when you have a moron on the team that has just scored who asks you about the offside at the preceeding ruck (or whatever it was you were playing adv for)?

I actually had this question from a guy last season. I had played advantage from the ruck, his team ran in a try, and he approached me as his kicker was lining up his conversion and said "Sir, what about the offside at that ruck?"

I looked at him in a quizzical fashion and pointed to the kicker. I then reminded him that I called and signalled advantage, and that his team then scored. Asked him what else he wanted me to do? Perhaps give him an extra 7 points for the try?

Simon Thomas
19-01-06, 18:01
Glad to see you have the same idiots in the USA Hookah !

I have found this management technique works for me :

if I have been playing advantage and a try is scored, I always speak to attacking skipper as we walk back to conversion mark, and remind / explain to him that I saw the offside / late tackle / etc but played advantage. This has two benefits
a) he knows I am 'on the ball' and looking for offences
b) reminds him I played a good advantage

I often also remind the defensive skipper too for similar reasons.

I can recall a match when a late tackled centre was quite upset, even after advantage was played and the try scored, until I yellow carded the offending tackler (repeat offence) and gave general warning to defensive skipper before the conversion was taken.

Simon Griffiths
19-01-06, 18:01
Of course, advantage is affected by many things - or rather, how we play it is. Usually I'll give a reasonable time for a PK in the 22, and almost always go back for it unless they score. But I was refereeing a match (quite poorly I have to admit) and wasn't thinking straight - all of a sudden a player yells at me for getting in the way (which was a ridiculous comment given both her proximity to me and the proximity to the player she was - supposedly - going to tackle). Having had a poor game I just 'flipped' per se (at least as far as I ever do), and despite being the sort of thing I'd usually ignore, I pounced on it and blew my whistle to give her a lecture of incalculable proportions (just as the other side's winger was 2m away from an unopposed try in the corner!).

I'll remember your point for my exchange Brian!

As far as a PK advantage goes, it has to be a pretty good one. If we're just retainign possession and going nowhere then I'll usually give the PK after they've had a couple of attempts to break through and have not succeeded. Good clean ball, time to do what they want and a decent chunk of ground is what I'm looking for - but I'm unlikely to give anywhere near as long an advantage in a sides defensive 22 as elsewhere on the pitch (the last thing they want to be is under pressure, under their own posts, when they could be clearing the ball from a PK).

For a scrum, obviously a much shorter advantage. I'd go a little further than Brian - although it will be more than adequate in some situations. But in a usual L9-11 game, I'll usually let them feed it across, if they get clean ball at a ruck which is on or over the gain line then that's advantage over (9 times out of 10).

Mike Whittaker
19-01-06, 20:01
At levels above about 8 the call of 'Advantage' is hopefully clarified as being either 'Penalty advantage' or 'Knock on advantage' plus, and, this is equally important, the identity of the team for who the advantage is being played?

The precise wording isn't as important as getting the message across.

Then the challenge is to differentiate the two degrees of advantage. But not as difficult as it sounds really, just think what the players would expect...

Brian Ravenhill
20-01-06, 14:01
My first call is 'advantage' to let every one know I've seen somthing, then its 'penalty advantage green' this gives me the time to clarify what sort of advantage and to who before shouting it out.