• Twitter

  • The word "CHEAT" rekindles the core values of Rugby


    By
    Matt Rozier

    Saturday 25th May 2013, the date that the rugby world was reminded of the core values of the game!

    The stage couldn’t have been much bigger, the biggest advert for English club rugby. Twickenham alive with the energy of a midlands derby, Leicester Tigers and Northampton Saints both vying for one big prize; the Aviva Premiership Final 2013.

    The game didn’t disappoint, it was full of twists and turns, but above all it will be remembered for the actions of one particular player and for reasons he would rather forget! On the stroke of half time an eerie silence swept through Twickenham as referee Wayne Barnes brandished a red card and ordered Northampton skipper Dylan Hartley to “leave the field”. It was as if time had suddenly stopped as Saint’s and Tiger’s fans alike took a moment to digest what had just happened. Those of us who were more astute had purchased ‘RefLink’ and were granted an explanation as Barnes stated that Hartley had called him a “f#*king cheat” and needed to “leave the field”.

    Fast-forward to Sunday 26th May 2013, evidence reviewed, disciplinary panel agreed and the verdict delivered, Hartley will be banned for 11 weeks subsequently missing the Lions tour to Australia.

    This decision has divided the world of sports fans, football fans struggle to understand what all the fuss is about, whilst traditional rugby fans applaud the seriousness of the sanction. The difference between the two opinions is simple, and is probably the biggest defining characteristic that sets the 2 games apart; respect.

    Respect
    Mutual respect forms the basis of our sport. We hold in high esteem our sport, its values and traditions and earn the respect of others in the way we behave. We respect our match officials and accept our decisions. We respect opposition players and supporters. We value our coaches and those who run our clubs and treat clubhouses with consideration.


    Compare Hartley’s moment of madness to the RFU’s definition of respect (above) and his outburst and following justification contradicts just about every part of it! He clearly did not respect the match officials or accept their decisions, and he also didn’t respect his opposition players as he tried to claim his words were intended for them. Therefore he has clearly brought the game into disrepute having contradicted the core values of rugby and so fully deserves his punishment and fall from grace.

    What impact will such a high profile sanction have on refereeing in the UK and around the world? The first message to be sent is of unity and protection. The RFU have delivered a clear warning that they will not accept the integrity of match officials being questioned. They have also shown that it is not a subject to be taken lightly and the full force of appropriate sanctions will be used to clamp down on such incidents. Respect is the basis of rugby; it is the reason why it works as a sport. Without respect, 100+ kilogram, 6+ feet tall men/women could never be trusted to charge around a field, often in to each other, for the purposes of entertainment. Therefore the act of showing disrespect must be stamped out at the early stages, which is partly what this decision has helped to initiate.

    The first applause must go to Wayne Barnes for having the confidence to issue a red card in arguably the biggest game of the club season. On the day Twickenham stadium had 81,703 fans seated, whilst millions watched on TV and online, all glued to an entertaining match. So at the point of the incident Barnes must have considered the impact that a red card would have on the game. He must have also considered that the red card would lead to Hartley missing the Lions tour; however he still had the confidence in his decision and his sanction. I am not suggesting that Barnes denied Hartley the chance to go with the Lions, the punishment is issued by the RFU disciplinary panel, but he would have had an idea of what the ramifications would be. Yet he had the belief and the confidence to go ahead and brandish the card. Why? Because this is rugby, the referee is the decision maker on the field and agree, or not, players should “respect the match officials and accept decisions”.

    The next applause must go to the RFU for backing their leading match official and not caving into the pressure of modern professional sport and ‘going easy’ on a player with a high profile. It would be very easy to have devised a punishment that would have still allowed Hartley to travel to Australia, but did he deserve to go? No! He failed to maintain the core values of the game, he failed to show respect and for that reason he deserves to be watching the Lions’ tests from home!

    As a result of all of this match officials in the UK and around the world can rest assured that the core values of the game remain firmly in tact and should be upheld at all times. They can be confident that their home unions have their integrity and reputation in mind and as soon as miscreants attempt to cross the boundaries they will be firmly dealt with to ensure that the sport we love does not disintegrate into something we despise! Well done Wayne Barnes and well done RFU, there is a reason why we love rugby and we must do everything we can to protect it!

    Image is courtesy of the Sydney Morning Herald
    Comments 36 Comments
    1. Browner's Avatar
      Browner -
      question ...... would the RFU stance be mirrored in the other main unions of the world? would they have the backbone to make such a sanction to one of their high profile players? 'discuss'
    1. 4eyesbetter's Avatar
      4eyesbetter -
      I don't believe that Barnes thought for a millisecond about the status of the game or the presence of the Lions tour; and nor should he. The speed of his reaction shows what an absolute no-brainer of a decision it was for him, and if you ask me, it's far more of a compliment to the sport to say that the culture he's been brought up in is such that decision could be a no-brainer in that way.
    1. dave_clark -
      only a few seasons ago, Tim Wigglesworth (i think) sent off David Paice for a similar incident. his reaction was about the same speed as that of Barnesy IIRC.
    1. Lee Lifeson-Peart's Avatar
      Lee Lifeson-Peart -
      Quote Originally Posted by dave_clark View Post
      only a few seasons ago, Tim Wigglesworth (i think) sent off David Paice for a similar incident. his reaction was about the same speed as that of Barnesy IIRC.
      Paice (only) got 4 weeks for his witty repost. He allegedly gave Dave Pearson (4th official?) a load of old slavver as he went off too.

      Is it hookers?
    1. damo's Avatar
      damo -
      In the article there is reference to:

      ... football fans struggle to understand what all the fuss is about, whilst traditional rugby fans applaud the seriousness of the sanction. The difference between the two opinions is simple, and is probably the biggest defining characteristic that sets the 2 games apart; respect.
      Is there any evidence of football fans criticising the decision, or is this just speculation from the author? I didn't see any articles to that effect, but I would be interested to read about the decision from a football perspective.
    1. SimonSmith's Avatar
      SimonSmith -
      Having been on the Discipline Panel, I have no doubts about the lower levels of US Rugby.

      Elite level? I guess we'll have to wait and see. [cynicmode]
    1. Ian_Cook's Avatar
      Ian_Cook -
      Quote Originally Posted by damo View Post
      Is there any evidence of football fans criticising the decision, or is this just speculation from the author? I didn't see any articles to that effect, but I would be interested to read about the decision from a football perspective.
      But he isn't saying that is he; that fans have criticised the decisions and/or the repercussions for the player? I think he is just generalising, but from speaking to the few football supporters I know locally, their overall attitude is that the referee needs to "harden up a bit".

      That is an attitude that I would rather not see in our game.
    1. damo's Avatar
      damo -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ian_Cook View Post
      But he isn't saying that is he; that fans have criticised the decisions and/or the repercussions for the player? I think he is just generalising, but from speaking to the few football supporters I know locally, their overall attitude is that the referee needs to "harden up a bit".

      That is an attitude that I would rather not see in our game.
      (un)fortunately I don't know any football fans so I haven't heard that from anyone but I'll take your word for it. I was more interested if there had been anything from a Football columnist to that effect.
    1. 4eyesbetter's Avatar
      4eyesbetter -
      I would be careful with that. I know a lot of football fans in my bit of the world, and their reaction has universally been "now why can't we do things like that?"
    1. Ian_Cook's Avatar
      Ian_Cook -
      Quote Originally Posted by 4eyesbetter View Post
      I would be careful with that. I know a lot of football fans in my bit of the world, and their reaction has universally been "now why can't we do things like that?"

      Do you mean "why can't we verbally abuse the referee and call him a cheat" or "why can't we hammer players who verbally abuse the referee and call him a cheat"?
    1. Robert Burns's Avatar
      Robert Burns -
      A well written article by Matt, We have a few more in the pipeline too, so look out for some articles in the near future with a different opinion from mine.
    1. Dickie E's Avatar
      Dickie E -
      Quote Originally Posted by Robert Burns View Post
      ... with a different opinion from mine.
      Does that mean you think Barnes got it wrong???
    1. Robert Burns's Avatar
      Robert Burns -
      hehehe, no!
    1. Daftmedic's Avatar
      Daftmedic -
      This maybe tree hugging slightly, but does anybody know how Hartleys behaviour has made him feel(Barnes). A comment like that can unfortunately shatter someone's confidence
    1. Lee Lifeson-Peart's Avatar
      Lee Lifeson-Peart -
      Quote Originally Posted by Daftmedic View Post
      This maybe tree hugging slightly, but does anybody know how Hartleys behaviour has made him feel(Barnes). A comment like that can unfortunately shatter someone's confidence
      If he's anything like Sylvester it'll be mighty real!
    1. 4eyesbetter's Avatar
      4eyesbetter -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ian_Cook View Post
      Do you mean "why can't we verbally abuse the referee and call him a cheat" or "why can't we hammer players who verbally abuse the referee and call him a cheat"?
      I mean "why can't we hammer players who abuse the referee?" Interestingly, most of them accepted that even a professional football player shouldn't be surprised if he got sent off for calling the referee a cheat. It was fun watching them trying to square that with "well, why's calling him a bleeping bleeper two inches from his face different, then?", but apparently it is.
    1. Dixie's Avatar
      Dixie -
      Quote Originally Posted by Daftmedic View Post
      This maybe tree hugging slightly, but does anybody know how Hartleys behaviour has made him feel(Barnes). A comment like that can unfortunately shatter someone's confidence
      Yeah, it's tree hugging. Sounds weird coming from a military man. Stick to shooting the blighters when they poke their heads above the trench wall.
    1. ddjamo's Avatar
      ddjamo -
      good article robbie...thanks
    1. Account Deleted -
      The only bit of the article is take issue with is this bit:

      "The next applause must go to the RFU for backing their leading match official and not caving into the pressure of modern professional sport and ‘going easy’ on a player with a high profile..."

      Sorry the ban was light. It should have been much longer.
    1. Ricardowensleydale's Avatar
      Ricardowensleydale -
      Quote Originally Posted by damo View Post
      Is there any evidence of football fans criticising the decision, or is this just speculation from the author? I didn't see any articles to that effect, but I would be interested to read about the decision from a football perspective.
      I don't know if it's a worldwide opinion but the local football fans I speak to deserately wish that their game had these standards.
  • Recent Activity Widget

    thepercy

    Scrum - Who can strike for the ball?

    Thread Starter: thepercy

    19.20 Front-row players may gain possession by striking for the ball but only once the ball touches the ground in the tunnel. Or 19.22 (New) The hooker from the team which threw in the ball must strike for the ball.

    Last Post By: Flish 4 Minutes Ago Go to last post
    tewdric

    WRU Under Tens Question

    Thread Starter: tewdric

    One for the Welsh refs here: Im reffing U10 for the first time on Sunday. I've read through the variations to the standard U19 rules. The U10 bit specifically says a scrum is to be awarded for ko and forward pass, but does not mention 5m scrums at all. Does that imply no 5m scrums or that you...

    Last Post By: Marc Wakeham 48 Minutes Ago Go to last post
    CrouchTPEngage

    Bias and refereeing team with family relative in it

    Thread Starter: CrouchTPEngage

    Just after some advice here. This season has seen a couple of events which means I am starting to get into a quandary 1) I come from a large-ish family. I have nephews and sons who play rugby in local leagues all for different clubs. 2) Some teams have , this season, been demoted and/or...

    Last Post By: breako 13 Hours Ago Go to last post
    crossref

    Jerome Kaino tackle on Jamie Roberts

    Thread Starter: crossref

    What do you think https://twitter.com/twitter/statuses/1051094824798052353 https://www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-news/tackle-left-jamie-roberts-unconscious-15277329

    Last Post By: Marc Wakeham 16 Hours Ago Go to last post