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Davet
10-03-04, 13:03
I had one of those moments in a recent game.

Ball is moved by Blue from one side of the pitch to the other quite fast, I am following across, and up the pitch, though less quickly than the ball moved across!

Ball reaches Blue winger who is close to touch-line. I am a couple of metres infield of the 15, and pretty much level - by this time we have gone from one wing deep inside Blue 22 and are now on the other inside Red 22.

Blue winger steps outside covering centre, gets past and cuts inside covering full back. I think he is in touch as he goes outside the centre, but am not 100% sure - and look for my TJ (non-appointed, one of defending sides coaches) - no arm up, though lots of noise from centre and a couple of others. Winger completes the move, with me still looking for a flag, and touches down middle of posts.

I am about to signal try, but not done so, when ......

at this moment, and not before, another of Red's coaching staff - not the one acting as TJ - is waving his arms shouting "touch, touch". The original TJ then appears, and says "he was in touch". I go over, and ask what happened to the flag? He says he was busy attending to a player who had gone off for blood (heavy nose bleed) a few seconds before this move began.

Now I was fairly convinced Blue winger was in touch, but would not swear to it on a stack of bibles. However, both original TJ, the other guy and plenty more were adamant the Winger was in touch.

I followed my own conviction - or chickened out, depending on your viewpoint - and gave touch.

After the game, the winger told me that he was indeed in touch. So that was a relief - but..... was the decision a good one or a bad one, I still can't decide.

Robert Burns
10-03-04, 14:03
I would have given the try, only because i look once at the touch judge when unsure, if no flag straight away I continue on, TJ's fault really.

Although if I was aware the TJ was not really being as good as i would expect, I may blow if over 50% sure he was out, all depends i suppose on how well you believe your TJ at the time is doing.

Don't believe any decision would be chickening out, you have to make a call and thats just the way the cookie crumbles!

Although fair play to the winger for holding his hands up after.

SimonSmith
10-03-04, 14:03
but..... was the decision a good one or a bad one, I still can't decide.

It's a bit like flying - any decision you can walk away from is a good one!

I don't think you can give a definitive answer to your question. If it was a friendly, pplayed in good spirit, then you probably did the right thing. My concern is that if was a less than amicable game, with points at stake, a perception could have arisen that you were uncertain and giving in to voal pressure. You certainly weren't helped by the Winger, or indeed by the TJ.

A more cynical referee might have awarded the try, and then told the defending side that it was their fault for failing to ensure that their TJ was doing his job properly and that you can only give what you see. That might focus his mind for the rest if the game!

My (cop-out) answer is that if you feel you did the right thing, then you probably did. As I sit here and think about it, I'm not sure I can say what I would have done.

Pablo
10-03-04, 15:03
A more cynical referee might have awarded the try, and then told the defending side that it was their fault for failing to ensure that their TJ was doing his job properly and that you can only give what you see. That might focus his mind for the rest if the game!



This is exactly what I would have done! Does that make me a cynic? Anyway, it certainly guarantees that the TJ will pay more attention in future...

Deeps
10-03-04, 18:03
This is exactly what I would have done! Does that make me a cynic? Anyway, it certainly guarantees that the TJ will pay more attention in future...

Its a tricky one but being decisive is important having considered the facts as presented to you at the time. Without the benefit of hindsight I think I too would probably have given the try having been seen to look for the TJs flag. If I had suspected a foot in touch yet the TJ had refrained from flagging during my pointed stare before I whistled and awarded the try, then he would have only himself to blame. My consultation with him at the point where he subsequently decided to flag would include such words as 'not being left hung out to dry'. As Pablo notes, it will sharpen up the TJ for next time.

Davet
11-03-04, 12:03
If I had suspected a foot in touch yet the TJ had refrained from flagging during my pointed stare before I whistled and awarded the try, then he would have only himself to blame. As Pablo notes, it will sharpen up the TJ for next time.
This thought did cross my mind at the time - and I suspect that in hindsight i would have doen well to pay more heed.

Should a similar thing happen again then I think I will be very much more inclined to take a harder line.

didds
12-03-04, 09:03
I fear the problem with telling the defending side that its "their fault for failing to ensure their TJ was doing his job properly" is that you run the risk of the "f*** you" factor coming into play, and the TJ making a point of flagging quite blatant NOT in touches as in touch to highlight the fact as you will only respond to ghis flag he will ensure you respond at all times.

This comes down to a game management situation and that - while I appreciate you did it in all fairness etc - once you entered into debate with the sidelines you left yourself in a no-win situation. However, "offically" appointing blame on untrained TJs with no official standing is not a way forward either IMO (even if you truly believe it to be the case).

You either need to blow the touch - and act as if YOU spotted it, or blow the try.

didds

didds
12-03-04, 09:03
disagree.

I think all that will likely happen is that the TJ will have a FU attitiude and will endeavour to ensure that HIS team gets the benefit of any potrential dount henceforth.

Ot he'll throw the flag down and refuse to do it. After all, he's only doing iot to help out to the best of his - untrained - abilities. Presuming tghis is below level 5 or somesuch I doubt there is anything you can do to "insist" anyone acts as TJ, although the players will have to accept your decisions as best you can manage in the circumstances.

didds

didds
12-03-04, 09:03
Its not "a harder line" - its having to make a decision on what you see. Entering into a debate could only give the impression that you are unsure and open to "advice - what would you have been able to do if a defending side coach had joined in and categorocally stated his winger was NOT in touch? Toss a coin?

didds

Pablo
12-03-04, 09:03
I fear the problem with telling the defending side that its "their fault for failing to ensure their TJ was doing his job properly" is that you run the risk of the "f*** you" factor coming into play, and the TJ making a point of flagging quite blatant NOT in touches as in touch to highlight the fact as you will only respond to his flag he will ensure you respond at all times.

This comes down to a game management situation and that - while I appreciate you did it in all fairness etc - once you entered into debate with the sidelines you left yourself in a no-win situation. However, "offically" appointing blame on untrained TJs with no official standing is not a way forward either IMO (even if you truly believe it to be the case).

You either need to blow the touch - and act as if YOU spotted it, or blow the try.

didds

Hence the need to have a chat with you TJs before the game so they are aware of what you are expecting from them. Tell them you want a nice clear, quick flag the moment they spot a touch (usually worth mentioning that's ALL you want from them, or they may start trying to mark 10m at penalties, or signalling knock-ons, etc.). Explain you are relying on them, make them feel involved and encourage them to pay attention for the whole game. During the match, you can back this up by thanking them when they flag a touch for you, but making it clear that wandering off to chat to the subs and abandoning their duty as TJ is unacceptable, etc... If you have gone through all of this, whether they are trained or not, they are now aware of the simple demands placed on them. Now you ARE in a position to point the blame at the TJ in a situation like this... If you take these simple steps before the game, you CAN and SHOULD blame the TJ. Award the try and he'll be nice and sharp for the rest of the game.

WRT the delightfully phrased "f**k you factor", if he starts flagging for opponents who aren't in touch, or not flagging for team-mates who are, simply take the flag off him, thank him for his services, but tell him they are no longer required. Ask for another TJ to be provided, or finish the match without one. As a referee, you have the power to dismiss TJs who are guilty of misconduct - why not use it?

Davet
12-03-04, 12:03
Didds

You are of course quite correct. The lesson seems to be - make a decision; if it happens to be the right one then so much the better.

My concern at the time was that I was 95% sure he was in touch, and was pretty much surprised to see no flag as confirmation. What I didn't see was any sign of the TJ, hence my hesitation at the time.

I think the lesson I have learned, from thinking about this, and from all the comments on here is that NOT blowing for touch is actually a decision taken; as much of a decision as blowing for it would have been. That would then have led me to blow for the try.

Which from a game management point of view would have been absolutely the thing to do.

Though it would, as it turned out, have been a wrong decision - since the winger did later (in the bar) confess to being in touch. Mind you I suppose I may have made wrong decisions before, allegedly.......and not been too badly scarred by them.

SimonSmith
12-03-04, 13:03
I fear the problem with telling the defending side that its "their fault for failing to ensure their TJ was doing his job properly" is that you run the risk of the "f*** you" factor coming into play, and the TJ making a point of flagging quite blatant NOT in touches as in touch to highlight the fact as you will only respond to ghis flag he will ensure you respond at all times.


I think that depends upon how you make your judgement.

If you award the try - which goes along with your philosophy of making a decision quickly - and then quell the protests with a firm "there was no flag, guys" and walk off, I think that deals with the issue. You don't get the grief from the team, the TJ does. Yes, you may have an issue with the TJ. So at the next l/out, you have a quick supportive word about needing a quick flag...

I'm not advocating this course of action, just a way of handling it.