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Foggy-Balla
12-11-14, 12:11
New member here. I have a quick query about stopping play in Mini-Rugby matches if a player is down.

At a recent tournament a referee stopped a match because a player had dropped to the floor just as a team was about to score. The fallen player jumped back on his feet again, the attacking side were awarded a free pass on two tackles (I think) but then managed to knock on and of course suffered a turnover.

In a later game which I refereed I was aware of a defender hitting the deck and a first aider and parent coming on to tend to them. As the player was being looked after, was in no danger, and play moving away I allowed play to continue for less than 45 seconds until the attackers knocked on in a tackle at which point I blew up and stopped the clock.

I was given some considerable grief by a spectator for this. Unfortunately I am too used these days to lots of shouting of "oi ref, oi ref" so hadn't connected the shouts to the player, who having been dusted off started playing again.

Now I am normally given a lot of praise for my style, except by one of our side's parents. However was I wrong in this case? I'd be grateful for input. Ideally I'd like an RFU ruling on it, rather than a guideline or best practice.

Many thanks!

TheBFG
12-11-14, 12:11
Firstly welcome to the board!

you are never going to please everyone all of the time.

At the level I ref sides still seem to think that we should stop for an injury and in some cases I will make the call and blow for it, you just know when it's a bad one, that said I will try and play on when I can and tell teams that we will do so. I also tell physios before the game they can come on when ever they want and I will only stop play if they shout for a serious injury or if the play is heading towards them.

At "kids" rugby, as I'm sure you are very aware it all about SAFETY SAFETY SAFETY and therefore stopping for a player down may well be expected. Can I suggest that at the refs briefing (assuming it's a formal tournament) that it's agreed what should be done.

I'm not suggesting that coaches will tell players to "take a dive", but I bet it happens.

I have to admit I'm a little out of date with the new way junior rugby is played but unless it's in the regs, it could well be one of those myths that you'll hear a lot about on this board :wink:

crossref
12-11-14, 13:11
this is a really tricky topic - and so much depends on context, age of children etc.
is it a matter of guidelines, best practice, not RFU ruling

@BFG for very young ones its not really a case of taking a dive, it's more a case of some kids being 'injured' so easily (in fact the reality is they may be 'upset') and whether the games stops for them. For instance they don't like tackling, they dive and semi-deliberately miss the tackle, hit the floor and cry out. does the game stop?

@Foggy-balla I am a ref who likes to keep going.
My best advice is to chat with the coaches (and first aiders) before the game and set expectations
1 - of course we'll stop for an injury that's unsafe
2 - but of the ball moves away, we'll try and play on
3 - you are free to come on to the pitch to treat an injury without my permission, and while the game continues
4 - if you need me to stop shout
5 - is this OK?
You will need to adapt this to the age of the players
You might also say the same thing to the players if you have a big PMB

(3) is important. If parents/spectators see that help is coming just as quickly as would if the game stopped (indeed more quickly than if they wait for the game to stop) they are much more relaxed about play continuing.

IME the conversation with coaches usually goes well and everyone is working for the same thing, what they want is an impression you are in control.

Lee Lifeson-Peart
12-11-14, 13:11
this is a really tricky topic - and so much depends on context, age of children etc.
is it a matter of guidelines, best practice, not RFU ruling

@BFG for very young ones its not really a case of taking a dive, it's more a case of some kids being 'injured' so easily (in fact the reality is they may be 'upset') and whether the games stops for them. For instance they don't like tackling, they dive and semi-deliberately miss the tackle, hit the floor and cry out. does the game stop?

@Foggy-balla I am a ref who likes to keep going.
My best advice is to chat with the coaches (and first aiders) before the game and set expectations
1 - of course we'll stop for an injury that's unsafe
2 - but of the ball moves away, we'll try and play on
3 - you are free to come on to the pitch to treat an injury without my permission, and while the game continues
4 - if you need me to stop shout
5 - is this OK?
You will need to adapt this to the age of the players
You might also say the same thing to the players if you have a big PMB

(3) is important. If parents/spectators see that help is coming just as quickly as would if the game stopped (indeed more quickly than if they wait for the game to stop) they are much more relaxed about play continuing.

IME the conversation with coaches usually goes well and everyone is working for the same thing, what they want is an impression you are in control.

By the same token I have experience (my kids play) of seeing Staurt Lancaster wannabes shouting at the referee to stop the game rather than getting on and treating the "injury".

Having a player down injured and conceding a try is usually a good catalyst for the more knobheadly of the coaching fraternaty to let us know exactly where their priorities lie.

There must be hundreds of these blokes all over the place who coached their side to the Pisspotshire U15 Bowl and in the process made themselves look complete @rseholes (and their offspring cringe) for 10 years before packing in and basking in their glory days.

This doesn't help Foggy-balla, however I feel better for saying it.

I would concur with crossref (very sagacious when it comes to junior Rugby) and his setting expectations with coaches in advance.

Foggy-Balla
12-11-14, 13:11
Thank you all, both for the welcome and the advice/support. That's jolly quick service. I'm a U9 coach & mini referee - I couldn't find a new member intro part of the board so will try and post somewhere appropriate to say more about who I am.

Unfortunately the Referees'/Coaches' briefing at the event was somewhat truncated and visitors weren't really encouraged to chip in, but I will (thanks to the notes above) make sure I get my tuppence worth heard in future.

One thing I didn't hear at the briefing, although I am assured it was discussed, is that it was decided that a pop pass from the floor was an offence to be penalised with a turnover and free pass to the defenders. That's not in the U9 NRoP as far as I can see!

Slightly OT and I may post another thread about it but this is the one thing that drives me barmy aside from eight-year-olds questioning what I am doing. There is a perfectly clear set of laws & variations for the age groups, so why do some feel the need to make up their own additions? I've seen a player penalised for failing to keep two hands on the ball because "he might hand off or fend"...

Agreed on the robustness of some children. We are lucky that most of the lads I coach need to be practically losing a limb to come off (and in our U8 year last year it was discovered one of ours had been playing with a broken arm for at least a month) but one or two do get emotional. In a couple of cases it's because they have such a desire to win they can't cope if they knock on, and in my lad's case it's not because he's been hurt by another player he cries because he can't get a grip on how someone would do something unfair!

didds
12-11-14, 13:11
not really adding to the above really but there is a very good chance that anyone reffing a minis' game will be a coach of one of the teams, or at least affiliated to one of the teams so there is always the potential of being seen to maybe be being biased. (possibly against your own team at that!).

I think all you can do is scour Regulation 15 to make sure you are 100% happy with what your chosen position is, explain it beforehand maybe, and accept/suggest in that pre-match chat that you appreciate others may have a different approach.

As for dealing with the clear gamesmanship in the example given... I don;t really know what to suggest other than if you are a "stopper-for-any-man-down" ref, stopping the game and allowing it to happen. If that team is so sad as to want/need to do it, they will get there's eventually... but should the oppo pick up on this tactic and within themselves as players (kids are bloody sharp as you will know foggy-balla!) then you apply the same approach and remain consistent. i don't think you can do anything else - with the caveat that if it just the one player always doing it then there may be an option to request that player be removed/substituted. The problem with that is if they aren't, or they are then come back on and repeat it, you are now somewhat painted in a corner.

didds

Foggy-Balla
12-11-14, 13:11
Thanks, didds. I will make it clear there was no suggestion of the player taking a dive. IIRC he had, as suggested, fallen off a tackle and had little more than hurt pride. Unfortunately cabbage-sized tears and a protective mummy rushing straight on led to the stoppage.

Once there was a kiss from mummy he was fit to go again. My other half is a Kiwi & former Ice Hockey player, so our lad if down normally gets a dulcet antipodean cry of "GET BACK IN THE GAME!" That seems to work too...

crossref
12-11-14, 13:11
One thing I didn't hear at the briefing, although I am assured it was discussed, is that it was decided that a pop pass from the floor was an offence to be penalised with a turnover and free pass to the defenders. That's not in the U9 NRoP as far as I can see!

Slightly OT and I may post another thread about it but this is the one thing that drives me barmy aside from eight-year-olds questioning what I am doing. There is a perfectly clear set of laws & variations for the age groups, so why do some feel the need to make up their own additions? I've seen a player penalised for failing to keep two hands on the ball because "he might hand off or fend"...



totally agree and please everyone forgive me as I quote myself on another thread a few days ago

I hate festival-speecific rules.
- there is always a number of referees who weren't at the brieifing / weren't listening and are not aware of the rule, so mistakes are made
- there are always a number of coaches who weren't at the briefing / didn't read the hand outs and are not aware of the rule, who get steamed up
- there are always a number of 14 year old players who were not told about today's special rule and unintentionally break it and concede a gotcha PK that really isn't fair for children who are doing their best, playing to the Laws that apply every other Sunday that season.

Why do festival organisers think that - on the fly - they can invent better Laws for an age group than the Laws in the book?
How do they think that their special made-up Laws can ever be consistently understood and applied?

Just play the game, with the proper Laws, that are in the Law book.


(plus there is always an agenda: show me a festival organiser who thinks the U15 game is better without pick ups, I'll show you an coach of an u15 team who have great wings and outside centres, but a rubbish back-row...)

crossref
12-11-14, 14:11
Unfortunately cabbage-sized tears and a protective mummy rushing straight on led to the stoppage.

Once there was a kiss from mummy he was fit to go again. .

that's another really good point actually: when talking to coaches before the game to try and agree that no parents should come on the pitch, as the coah / the first aider will be there first, seeing to the child, forestalling the need for mummy to come on, at least until the game is stopped.

if the pitch is invaded by a random mummy (which will happen from time to time) I think you should stop play, just as you would for any spectator pitch invasion.

Foggy-Balla
12-11-14, 14:11
The one with the mummy wasn't my match, crossref, but point taken about people entering the field of play!

Lee Lifeson-Peart
12-11-14, 14:11
that's another really good point actually: when talking to coaches before the game to try and agree that no parents should come on the pitch, as the coah / the first aider will be there first, seeing to the child, forestalling the need for mummy to come on, at least until the game is stopped.

if the pitch is invaded by a random mummy (which will happen from time to time) I think you should stop play, just as you would for any spectator pitch invasion.

Unless of course she is dead good looking.

Foggy-Balla
12-11-14, 14:11
Unless of course she is dead good looking.

Shhh, the Missus was there & she's tougher than me ;)

Lee Lifeson-Peart
12-11-14, 14:11
Shhh, the Missus was there & she's tougher than me ;)

Aren't they all?

AntonyGoodman
12-11-14, 15:11
Hi and welcome, new here myself :)

Think others have covered this well, so I'll just say I echo Crossref's sentiments in post #3.

The good news is that we found that the kind of crying for 'non injured' kids phases itself out pretty quickly. I am reff'ing U11's this year and can't remember that sort of thing happening last year, but I definitely remember it at U9's.

Thanks,

Antony

Rushforth
12-11-14, 15:11
There must be hundreds of these blokes all over the place who coached their side to the Pisspotshire U15 Bowl and in the process made themselves look complete @rseholes (and their offspring cringe) for 10 years before packing in and basking in their glory days.

This doesn't help Foggy-balla, however I feel better for saying it.

I particularly like your use of the @ sign

Steve
12-11-14, 22:11
Hi and welcome, new here myself :)

Think others have covered this well, so I'll just say I echo Crossref's sentiments in post #3.

The good news is that we found that the kind of crying for 'non injured' kids phases itself out pretty quickly. I am reff'ing U11's this year and can't remember that sort of thing happening last year, but I definitely remember it at U9's.

Thanks,

Antony

Quite agree. Last year at U9s, a player down meant it could be a genuine injury, hurt pride, an untied shoelace or simply looking at worms. Now at U10s, 99% of the time, a player down is a player injured and the pace this season is actually very fast and physical.

If a player is obviously injured or stays down as play moves away, I will blow whether a try was about to be scored or not. Safety is key and to err on the side of caution is sensible. If anything happened to a player and I hadn't acted accordingly, I would never forgive myself.

crossref
12-11-14, 22:11
Hi and welcome, new here myself :)

Think others have covered this well, so I'll just say I echo Crossref's sentiments in post #3.

The good news is that we found that the kind of crying for 'non injured' kids phases itself out pretty quickly. I am reff'ing U11's this year and can't remember that sort of thing happening last year, but I definitely remember it at U9's.

Thanks,

Antony

Quite agree. Last year at U9s, a player down meant it could be a genuine injury, hurt pride, an untied shoelace or simply looking at worms. Now at U10s, 99% of the time, a player down is a player injured and the pace this season is actually very fast and physical.

If a player is obviously injured or stays down as play moves away, I will blow whether a try was about to be scored or not. Safety is key and to err on the side of caution is sensible. If anything happened to a player and I hadn't acted accordingly, I would never forgive myself.

Are you the first aider as well as the Ref?
I think the important thing is that first aider get to the injury as soon as possible and doesn't have to wait for you to stop the game.
If the first aiders o the pitch how are you helping by then stopping g the game?

Steve
12-11-14, 23:11
Are you the first aider as well as the Ref?
I think the important thing is that first aider get to the injury as soon as possible and doesn't have to wait for you to stop the game.
If the first aiders o the pitch how are you helping by then stopping g the game?

I can only go on the experiences I have encountered from U7-U10 so far which is, in the wider picture, pretty minimal experience. No-one (yet) has ever queried, questioned or challenged me stopping the game for a potential injury and my actions have been generally consistent with numerous other clubs in their approach to similar scenarios.

I am not saying my approach is necessarily ideal or the correct way to do things, but it does appear consistent with other clubs at this age level.

crossref
13-11-14, 06:11
I think that the original post was prompted by a lack of consistency across different refs and clubs. Of course the precise age of kids is relevant as well. U6 present different challenges from u11

Foggy-Balla
14-11-14, 10:11
I think that the original post was prompted by a lack of consistency across different refs and clubs. Of course the precise age of kids is relevant as well. U6 present different challenges from u11

I suppose my point was am I a heartless brute if I let play continue if it is safe, and was I doing something wrong or against RFU policy for doing so. One other ref at the tournament had an immediate stop policy and the others tended to stop, but that's because the incidents were in the middle of play and there was risk of the faleln player being trampled on.

The one when our team were called back had no material or contextual reason for stopping (player on ground was perhaps 25m from the try line and by the time the ref noticed our lad was 10m out, and motoring for the try); the one I was involved in was similar, although there had been a couple of phases and I was lookign for any infringement so I could stop. Personally I think I was correct and I hate a spectator running on and giving me grief when I had stopped the clock to settle things down!

Browner
14-11-14, 13:11
If a player is obviously injured or stays down as play moves away, I will blow whether a try was about to be scored or not. Safety is key and to err on the side of caution is sensible. If anything happened to a player and I hadn't acted accordingly, I would never forgive myself.

I operated slightly differently ( & only offer this having travelled through the whole minis juniors experience at the top end of Region rugby ) IME serious injuries are very very rare, and if i saw a player down and moving then id keep an close eye on him but rarely stopped the match , and in every case i can remember the player was merely nursing a knock ( of various degrees) rather than being concussed. The exceptions included a dislocation where the player was screaming in pain & all the players stopped anyway... or when blood was clearly streaming from his nose ( young kids think blood means they'll soon die !) & the whistle went.

I know this won't meet everyones 'comforting or BStSorry standard' , but the parents in our group were fully supportive of knocks being part of the toughening up process, and you will get to know which players in your side are less resilient to a few bumps than others.

One lad, famous for his regularity of rolling in agony was equally famous for the parents all knowing that a mere sip of his mothers lovingly mixed orange squash would immediately see him springing up back into action ready to tackle the world again within the next 15 seconds!

They became then, and still are a resilient bunch.

PS...spectators running on, discourage firmly .... They are learning / need educating also!!

Dan_A
15-11-14, 16:11
Thinking about it at minis I would stop for head injuries and anything I really don't like the look of (we had a nice dislocated kneecap last season). Anything else is play on.

wolfie
14-12-14, 18:12
I ref adult rugby and for my son's U12 side. The latter is definitely the hardest. I will only stop for an injury if it's looks particularly severe and he needs immediate care or if by leaving him he could sustain further injury. I regularly send players to coaches for a 60 sec check over before they continue.

Whenever a mini player is hurt I will signal to any parent and coaches to come and help him. 9 times out of 10 the parents will look the other way and pretend they didn't see me.

I have only once had a minis assistance coach have a go at me because he thought I must stop for every injury,he was also the same person that thought players in front of a player who kicks the ball are not offside - enough said I think.

wolfie
14-12-14, 18:12
I ref adult rugby and for my son's U12 side. The latter is definitely the hardest. I will only stop for an injury if it's looks particularly severe and he needs immediate care or if by leaving him he could sustain further injury. I regularly send players to coaches for a 60 sec check over before they continue.

Whenever a mini player is hurt I will signal to any parent and coaches to come and help him. 9 times out of 10 the parents will look the other way and pretend they didn't see me.

I have only once had a minis assistance coach have a go at me because he thought I must stop for every injury,he was also the same person that thought players in front of a player who kicks the ball are not offside - enough said I think.