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Na Madrai
04-11-14, 11:11
Colts league match, home, blue against black.

First scrum of the match, black feed, everything looks good. At a break in play, black tight head asks me to have a look at his opponent at the next scrum - I was positioned at the far side initially.

Second scrum, black feed, standing same side as they form, everything looks good, as ball enters I scoot round for a look and everything still looks good.

Third scrum, black feed, before ball enters, scoot round and see that blue loose head's head is actually below the chest of his opponent on the set. Break them up and request tight head to keep his head up and straight, left shoulder back. On the set, head goes to same place. As it is a league match and I will not coach, free kick, blue.

Fourth scrum, on the set, head in same place. Break them up and call the skipper over and confirm that the player is STE as his coach confirmed prior to KO. On confirmation, warn LHP that continuance of non-compliance would leave me with few options. Reset scrum, head in same place. Penalty awarded.


Fifth scrum, blue feed. Head in same place - YC and warning to skipper.

After his time has been served but before he can re-enter the fray, I again ask his coach if the player is STE. I state that I am very unhappy with his binding and that it may be advisable for the coach to substitute his prop. Advice ignored on the basis that he is a county standard prop and knows more than I, the referee, does about playing prop.

First scrum, head below chest, RC.

Post match discussion with coach, I was completely wrong, his county coaches had coached him into this new technique and last week's referee did not have a problem! I pointed out that at the very least, the position of his head was below his own hips thus breaking the very basis of scrummaging law, let alone any technical and complicated details.

My only error was that it took me three scrums to identify the problem but had the first feed been to his team , I would like to think that I would have picked up the problem earlier. Having lost the match, coach is to appeal the RC.

Incidently, ten minutes from time, black score the winning try. As the try scorer rose to his feet, defender gives him a little push. Two players stand chest to chest, strong whistle blows. Blue player, number 22 comes running in and pushes defender, team mate of latter, number 15, runs up and pushes him, handbags break out.

Settles down, call captains together. Ask blue skipper to call 22 to join us. Issue YC for running in. Ask black skipper to call his 15 to join us and receive his YC for running in but blue 22 turns back to us and threatens 15 with retribution after the match. I ask him to leave and he tells me to f**k o**. Immediate RC - coach afterwards defends his player on the basis that 'Boys will be boys'!!!!!

Coach is club coach and first team are level 5 team.

Is it just me?



NM

Adam
04-11-14, 11:11
First thing, when asked after scrum #1, why didn't you go and stand on the blue LHP's side of the scrum at scrum #2?

Second, what effect did the blue LHP's position have on the scrum? It seems from your description that you have penalised, YC and then RC a player for not actually collapsing a single scrum. Is that player's action having a material effect on the game? If he has not collapsed a scrum or anything, and he is driving straight, then it seems an issue has been made out of something that shouldn't.

Third, "it's a league match, I will not coach". Refereeing is all about the following: game management and appreciation, management of players, and communication skills. In addition, they are still playing age grade rugby, and are still learning the game.

What were the exact words you used to convey what you required to him?

Stuartg
04-11-14, 12:11
Who is refereeing the match? You or the black THP? Was he the captain? Do you always do what players want you to do? The black THP must have been, with justification, very pleased to have you on his side protecting him.

Adam
04-11-14, 12:11
Who is refereeing the match? You or the black THP? Was he the captain? Do you always do what players want you to do? The black THP must have been, with justification, very pleased to have you on his side protecting him.

I don't think you should have a problem with a prop politely asking you to look at something, and then to go and look at it at the next one, providing you aren't trying to deal with an issue on the other side of the scrum first.

Why are you immediately getting players backs up for no reason early in the match? All it means is they won't work with you later on in the match?

Pick your battles on the field. I would suggest refusing to look at something is a battle you don't need to have.

ChrisR
04-11-14, 12:11
"Third scrum, black feed, before ball enters, scoot round and see that blue loose head's head is actually below the chest of his opponent on the set. Break them up and request tight head to keep his head up and straight, left shoulder back. On the set, head goes to same place. As it is a league match and I will not coach, free kick, blue."

Did you mean Loose head?

Was the Blue LH boring in? Was he driving the Black TH up?

What Law were you applying?

Phil E
04-11-14, 13:11
I don't understand what you are seeing?

When you said he didn't have his head up at the set, what do you mean exactly? Can you draw it?

Props these days are not taught to have their heads up, but to have their heads in the normal position to their body, as it would be when they are standing up. i.e. head not bent backwards at the neck.

Are you saying he had his chin tucked down against his chest?

TheBFG
04-11-14, 13:11
Known as the neutral postion

Accylad
04-11-14, 14:11
While there might have been other things NM could have said and done to manage what he was seeing clearly he was not happy with what he was looking at and asked the player to adjust. The player has decided not to..... Foolish player.

I can't picture how a prop can get his head under his opponents chest as described rather than the shoulder without setting up at an angle. The ATP then becomes about an issue that is not law compliant.

didds
04-11-14, 14:11
BFG has it right. As a generality I really, REALLY strongly suggest referees (in England anyway but of course anybody! :-)should attend a RFU CPD Scrum factory course. If nothing else you'll get to learn the jargon that coaches should be using, and be best prepared if you get cornered bu coaches/players. I deliver these courses so am very biased :-)

Without a photo its difficult to get entirely what NM means (not that i doubt him). It IS feasible that a LH could be pushing straight, and have his head beneath the oppo TH's chest, but that said only (having had a quick think about it!) if the LH is not very wide, and the TH is i.e. they could be "ear to ear" but the natural engagement takes the LH's head right beneath the TH chest (i.e. sternum) which is wide enough to accommodate it. I would also add I would not expect a LH head to be under an armpit of a TH anyway, so there would be some element of engaging in the chest region. A LH head beneath a TH armpit would not be a strong scrummaging position anyway IMO, and is potentially a sign of a deliberate wheel attempt (illegal at U19 of course and at adult levels illegal if not "pushed straight". )

The description NM gives sounds rather like a very old LH technique, before LIFTING front rows was made illegal - and that must be circa 20 years now or so (at least?). The counter technique was the TH to jam his chin into his right shoulder to try and block the attempt to get in under the chest. This could further be done without hinging, but the LH would be placing a lot of pressure on his neck to then lift... so would still be better off with lower hips.

didds

Accylad
04-11-14, 14:11
It IS feasible that a LH could be pushing straight, and have his head beneath the oppo TH's chest, but that said only (having had a quick think about it!) if the LH is not very wide, and the TH is i.e. they could be "ear to ear" but the natural engagement takes the LH's head right beneath the TH chest (i.e. sternum) which is wide enough to accommodate it.

I get that Didds, but whatever NM saw did not look right to him and I suspect that had he been looking at what you describe he would have been very unlikely to escalate all the way to a red card.....

Perhaps we need a bit more clarification of what NM was seeing...?

Shelflife
04-11-14, 14:11
The main issue for me is not NM but the coach/capt/player why in the world if you are been specifically asked not o do something by the ref would you continue to do it ?

Regardless of whether you think you are right or wrong you have to play the ref, NM was backed into a corner by the player and had no option but to RC, just because the county coach thinks its correct doesnt mean that it is.

the "boys will be boys " comment prob sums up the problem nicely, if the coach cant teach them disclipline and respect then he really shouldnt be there.

crossref
04-11-14, 14:11
I'm curious to know what the prop himself said?
- did he claim that he had every right to scrum in that position, and refuse to follow instructions from NM ..
- or did he claim that black TH prop was forcing him into a position that he didn't want to be in and he couldn't help it ..

Or perhaps something else, but I can't imagine he went through all that A-T-P-YC-RC completely silently.

I'd also like to know why, exactly NM did you intervene, did you think the scrums were dangerous? Or was the prop getitng an unfair advantage by binding like that.

NM you generate a lot of post-game complaints! This must be the fifth or sixth you have told us about in last year or so!

didds
04-11-14, 15:11
The other possibility i suppose is that the LH didn't actually understand what he was doing wrong so just continued in "default mode".

Not that that excuses him etc etc etc necessarily!

didds

Browner
04-11-14, 15:11
Advice ignored on the basis that he is a county standard prop and knows more than I, the referee, does about playing prop.

Sounds like NM wasn't going to be listened to?

And part of this county standard props learning is to adjust to what a referee asks 'even if he disagrees' .

NM is an experienced referee, and has seen 000's of scrums, without these issues every week, why is that? I suspect the answer is....
his county coaches had coached him into this new technique. So, he could have reverted to his old technique, had he chose ????


re: FO comment ........coach afterwards defends his player
Include it in your report. Hopefully the DC will help re-educate the coach.

crossref
04-11-14, 15:11
NM tells us what the coach said, he doesn't tell us what the prop himself said.
The Prop was a county standard U18, NM's prime convesation must have been withj the prop himself, he must have had an opinion/explanation of his own.
Didds - yes, a 3rd possibility - the prop might have said 'I don't properly understand what you want from me, Sir'

ChrisR
04-11-14, 20:11
As important: What did the Black TH actually complain about?

Na Madrai
19-11-14, 19:11
Sorry to bring this one up again but I have just realised that I never came back after starting this.

At the engagement, I expect to see at least a small portion of the LH's head somewhere near the ribs of the TH. Most front rows will have their faces looking at the ground so the LH arm, depending on the angle of his bind - back or side - will hide part of the side of his head - face or crown - as I look at it. Either way, I would expect to see his head outside the body of the TH. I hope that that makes sense - I expect to see the LH's head loose of the scrum.

In this instance, the whole of the LH's head was below the chest of the TH and his own hips, and no portion of his head could be seen from where I stood. Had there been a scrum collapse, it is highly likely that the full weight of the TH would have been on the LH's extended neck and this was my concern. I instructed him to keep his left, outer, shoulder back and straight and his head up.

These were my verbal instructions but I declined any inclination to show him as this could be construed as coaching - and this is a colts' league match and both the skipper and his coach had confirmed that he was STE and, although I did not know this at the time, he was STE to county level!

I cannot recall what his verbal responses were, all I was interested in was his obeying my instructions and his continued refusal led to his removal. I gave the coach plenty of opportunities to substitute this player prior to my final sanction but these were refused.

There was a comment in this thread asking if I always did what player's request and something about my making the life of the TH easier. Shame on both of you making such comments. Have you never acted upon a player's request to 'Can you look at ...?' I invariably act upon these observations, not necessarily immediately and very rarely obviously but when it is a request from a front row forward - probably the most common position to sustain a life changing injury -what would your defence be in court to the statement that I told the referee but he did nothing? Again, I cannot recall the actual words of the black TH but it was something quite quiet such as 'Could you watch the binding on my side, ref?'

In this instance, having had my attention drawn to a potention problem, I had a quick look once as the scrum was in action and could see nothing wrong, then, at the next scrum, a more detailed look which raised major concerns for me upon which I acted.

Crossref, I do seem to get a few after match complains, I received two more this weekend - one because of a YC being issued to the 'wrong player' in Sunday morning's match, it was not, and the second because I was 'the worst referee he had ever seen' after Sunday's afternoon match, this one was even going to put in a complaint against me, and then asked me how he did so! The ones that I think raise an issue that may be of interest to the distinguished members herein (hereon?), I tend to mention here.

There are many more ........ generally because I have a more detailed knowledge of the law than the majority of coaches and, especially when it comes to youth rugby, more experience and this frequently leads to friction which is normally sorted out in the bar afterwards butnot always ........


NM

ChrisR
19-11-14, 21:11
I'm sympathetic to NM's position. If the LH has his head as NM describes then the TH has reason to complain. Firstly, the LH is boring in and secondly, if the LH so wished and was strong enough, could get under the TH and drive upwards puting the TH in a very bad position. I have less concern about a collapse onto the LH as clearly his head was all concrete.

Now comes the tricky part. What to do. NM needs to tell the LH where he wants his head because of his concern for safety but the laws don't explicitly cover this. Or am I missing something?

As to the attitude of the player and coach? Boneheads.

Shelflife
19-11-14, 21:11
Not tricky for me at all marauder, if NM feels that the player is binding/engaging incorrectly then its ATP YC RC. Not alot more that NM could do.

As for the coaches/sideline not worth worrying about, it amazes me how often a losing team blames the ref for their own problems.

didds
19-11-14, 23:11
I expect to see the LH's head loose of the scrum.



I wouldn;t. That suggests a loose bind on his hooker and.or poor scrummaging ability, or a potential attempt to start a whipwheel.

Get on a Scrum factory course :-)



In this instance, the whole of the LH's head was below the chest of the TH and his own hips,


former - totally fine as long as his spine is straight up the pitch. theer's no reason why with spine-in-line his head shouldn;t bne under the TH right breast. probably not his sternum though!

Second bit though is a definite no-no. I'd even suggest you ping as soon as you see it happening (or reset if ball not yet in). Its too dangerous. No room for materiality in scrummaging IMO.



and no portion of his head could be seen from where I stood. Had there been a scrum collapse, it is highly likely that the full weight of the TH would have been on the LH's extended neck and this was my concern. I instructed him to keep his left, outer, shoulder back and straight and his head up.


head in a neutral position is the now standard terminology. Please don't ask front rows to be tipping their head back towards their shoulder blades...


didds

didds
19-11-14, 23:11
Incidentally i can't see anything that NM has described that suggests there was any boring going on ie spine not straight up the pitch.

didds

ChrisR
20-11-14, 17:11
didds, agree that LH not necessarily 'boring in'. If the TH bind with his hook is loose, and LH is tight with his, then you are correct that the LH's head will be on the TH's pec. Some-ones head isn't going to be neutral in that case.

If it's on his sternum then something need to change.