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  • Interview with Dave Broadwell - RFU Referee Development Manager

    Dave Broadwell is the RFUs Referee Development Manager for the South East of England and has been an employee of the RFU for 14 years. As part of his role he sits on the RFU Laws Sub Committee and is therefore a point of reference for law queries which arise from the 43 Referee Societies within England.

    As Dave would admit pace was not his strongest attribute so he reached just short of National Panel selection. For ten years he was part of the RFUs Elite Touch Judging Panel, operating within their Premiership and in European Cup Competitions.

    Prior to joining the RFU he worked in the Metropolitan Police Service leaving that career with the rank of Inspector to take up his current post.
    He is married with two daughters and lists his non rugby pursuits as keeping fit, golf and appreciating the tastes of real ale and fine wine!!!

    1, What do you believe is the most important quality a referee should possess?
    It is extremely difficult to narrow down an answer as a combination of qualities are important. When I observe a referee if I note that they are clearly enjoying what they are doing and have some empathy with what the players are trying to achieve they are more than half way there.

    2, If you could change one law, which would it be and why?
    If the ball does not emerge from a maul the side going forward will get the resultant scrum throw in because current turnover law encourages high hits to smother the ball and retain possession.

    3, Who, in your opinion, is the best referee in the world at the moment and why?
    Any referee that makes the top ten in the world is part of the best. I list my current favourites, a somewhat diplomatic answer as Wayne Barnes and Craig Joubert.

    4, Most people agree there are problems with the scrum, what do you think the main problems are, and how can they be fixed?
    The problems seem to only exist at the top end of the game where the contest is about the hit and dominance of your opponent either legally/physically or until detected illegally. The laws are perfectly adequate if referees concentrate on the basics, square and static, note legal binding and the contest begins when the ball leaves the hands of the scrum half.

    5, What do you think about the idea of referees partaking in press conferences after games to explain their views of incidents?
    Never after games because emotions are high, the press seek a story, not always facts and therefore considered replies can be made later.

    6, Who do you believe will win the 2011 Rugby World Cup, and who will be 2nd, 3rd & 4th?
    Clearly New Zealand as home nation must start favourites and then England, France, South Africa and Australia will be in the mix.

    7, What would be your advice to a new referee starting out?
    Enjoy yourself, remember it is the mistakes you will make that will improve you so do not get despondent because everything was not 100%.

    8, What do you believe is the most common error a grassroots referee makes?
    Blowing the whistle for offences that have no game impact.

    9, In the Stormers vs Crusaders game there was a controversial non-try where a player stepped into the field of play to take a quick throw, the quick throw was intercepted and the player ran through to score a try only to have it cancelled by the referee because of his foot being over the line, a debate then was had on if advantage can be applied to this scenario. What is your opinion?
    It does make sense to allow it as you allow an advantage for not straight so why reward incompetence.

    10, Do you think the powers of the TMO should be extended to include foul play, as trialed in France, and play back to the last tackle, ruck or maul?
    No, I think with the prescribed questions we just about have it right now.

    Thank you very much Dave for taking the time from you schedule in order to answer our questions.
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