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Shelflife
26-11-15, 13:11
I reffed a game last week U16, coach told me that there was special needs player on the wing as they were short numbers. I asked did I need to know anything else and said no,his law knowledge was poor and that offside would be his failing. I said that i would manage that but they risked Pens if it became material.

Game starts and its clear that this lad hasnt a scooby doo about rugby, cant /wont tackle kick pass. No tactical awareness or positional sense.

At one stage the opp no 5 goes tearing down his wing and thankfully the winger steps out of his way to let him straight in.

If the opp No5 was a total meathead and liked running over people as is their want at that age, the winger could have been badly hurt as he wasnt prepared at all for contact.

i spoke to the coach afterwards and said that it was an accident waiting to happen and that if I was a coach I wouldnt play him but it was said more as an observation as a parent than a referee.

So the question is, have we a duty of care to that specific player and could /should we asked to have him removed from the pitch.

Taff
26-11-15, 13:11
I have a vague memory of a Special Needs kid playing years ago and the Ref having a word with the opposition during the PMB that he did not want to see anyone targeting him.

crossref
26-11-15, 14:11
I think this is tough. On the one hand you need to be sure players are safe, on the other hand (talking generally not about your particular example) if there has been a proper risk assessment with informed coaches, trainers and parents, and the player himself, then I don't think anyone would thank a referee coming in and making snap judgment.

(and shying away at tackling an oncoming total meathead is not exactly uncommon at U16s!)

didds
26-11-15, 14:11
Many years ago, when acting as an assistant coach at a club, there was one (senior) player that sounds like this lad. not so much special needs (maybe?) but clearly was potentially a horrible accident waiting to happen.

I did say in the strongest terms to selection that IMO he was not safe for himself to play until we coaches had spoent some time at least making sure his approach in contact situations was more robust. Being about 7 stones soaking wet and the best part of 6 feet didn't help much - I did suggest someone got him drinking lots of beer and eating pies!

WRT shelflife, I'd hope that such players are protected by their coaches, but at some time they need to step onto a pitch to "find out". A starting position probably is not that moment.

didds

didds

Phil E
26-11-15, 14:11
I found this, but it's about teams of disabled people, not mixed teams.

http://www.englandrugby.com/about-the-rfu/rfu-inclusion-programmes/disabled-rugby/

I can't find anything on mixed ability teams.

Dixie
26-11-15, 16:11
If the opp No5 was a total meathead and liked running over people as is their wont at that age, the winger could have been badly hurt as he wasnt prepared at all for contact. With the recent sad death of Big Jonah, all of us on this side of the Irish Sea are reminded of poor Tony Underwood and Mike Catt being in exactly this position during the 1995 RWC semi final. Sometimes, you are on a hiding to nothing on a rugby pitch and in my view it's not the ref's task to prevent it. Back in that sem final, the referee was Ireland's Stephen Hilditch. I hope it does him no injustice to suggest that he probably enjoyed Lomu's imperious performance as much as everyone else not wearing white. He certainly didn't ask for either Underwood or Catt to be removed, and IMO nor should he have.

4eyesbetter
26-11-15, 17:11
There's a difference between having skills and competencies on which you are being outclassed, and having no skills and competencies whatsoever.

Dixie
26-11-15, 17:11
There's a difference between having skills and competencies on which you are being outclassed, and having no skills and competencies whatsoever.

I suspect that being boshed and run over by a player to whom you concede 20Kg as a no-hoper is not so very different to being boshed and run over by a player to whom you concede 20Kg as an international.

Phil E
26-11-15, 17:11
There's a difference between having skills and competencies on which you are being outclassed, and having no skills and competencies whatsoever.

Not to mention having a disability that might prevent you from even realising you don't have the skills, or leaving you confused and bewildered; and thus totally out of your comfort zone and likely to place yourself in harms way.

crossref
26-11-15, 17:11
Not to mention having a disability that might prevent you from even realising you don't have the skills, or leaving you confused and bewildered; and thus totally out of your comfort zone and likely to place yourself in harms way.

indeed.
it's more one for the coaches and parents than for the ref though. But I agree the ref is the last safety net, especially for a child.


going back to the OP, I do think didds' point was an excellent one: why is he starting?.

It doesn't sound right, u16 are not infants, and in any level you are likely to encounter big players, playing hard, and teams organised enough to seek out weak points and attack down them.

If I was introducing any U16 to rugby for the first time, I'd look to be bringing him on as a sub for last twenty minutes, not starting him in a game where they have no subs so he can't even come off. if it's a player with SN, then doubly so.

Shelflife
26-11-15, 18:11
Dixie you have missed the point completely.

didds he started because they were short numbers, only 13 turned up, I agree that they have to hit the pitch at some stage and also agree with crossref that 15-20 mins in an easy game is the place to do it.

I also agree that shying away from the tackle wasnt an issue either (sensible call given the circumstances) I would be more worried about said meathead getting his kicks by running over him instead of around him.

First time ive come across a special needs player that I was worried about all the others were well able to take care of themselves on the pitch, this lad simply wasnt.

Ian_Cook
26-11-15, 18:11
I suspect that being boshed and run over by a player to whom you concede 20Kg as a no-hoper is not so very different to being boshed and run over by a player to whom you concede 20Kg as an international.


I disagree entirely.

As a regular player, you will still have the basic idea of how to tackle and how to keep yourself safe while doing so, especially WRT head position. As a no-hoper, you might not even have that.

ctrainor
26-11-15, 19:11
I guess you wouldn't know how bad the kid was until the game kicked off.If the kid was clearly that bad after the game had started I would be extremely concerned about it, and would probably ask for him to be removed for his own safety.

SimonSmith
26-11-15, 21:11
What's the definition of special needs here? That may have inflected my thinking

menace
26-11-15, 23:11
What's the definition of special needs here? That may have inflected my thinking

Think Sam Burgess. :pepper::biggrin:

(Sorry ...couldn't help myself)

Dixie
27-11-15, 10:11
indeed.
it's more one for the coaches and parents than for the ref though. But I agree the ref is the last safety net, especially for a child.


going back to the OP, I do think didds' point was an excellent one: why is he starting?.

It doesn't sound right, u16 are not infants, and in any level you are likely to encounter big players, playing hard, and teams organised enough to seek out weak points and attack down them.

If I was introducing any U16 to rugby for the first time, I'd look to be bringing him on as a sub for last twenty minutes, not starting him in a game where they have no subs so he can't even come off. if it's a player with SN, then doubly so.



I disagree entirely.

As a regular player, you will still have the basic idea of how to tackle and how to keep yourself safe while doing so, especially WRT head position. As a no-hoper, you might not even have that.

With reservations about the bit in red, I agree with both of these points - but they go towards evaluating whether or not the player can properly be asked to start the game given the Coach's duty of care towards his charges. As with all questions of "Suitably Trained and Experienced", I really don't want to have this judgement call considered to be the preserve of the referee. IMO, the last thing we need is to be the club's whipping boy of last resort when a player gets badly hurt - "It's not fair or accurate to blame for this catastrophe. We would expect the referee to be excluding him from the pitch if there were grounds to suggest that he wasn't fit to be in such company, M'Lud".

If this were a coaching forum and the same debate was being had, I'd be firmly in Crossref's camp giving strong support to Ian's view. But here, we are assaying that the referee has a duty of care to the child to second-guess the coach's judgement on STE - I will resist any such suggestion to my dying breath, in the interests of all referees everywhere.

crossref
27-11-15, 10:11
Basically I agree with you Dixie, and I wouldn't normally second guess a credible coach
but - like it or not - realistically I don't think the ref can escape some duty of care, when there is a clear and obvious danger.

ctrainor
27-11-15, 12:11
If this was a front row situation and the coach had said he's new to the position but is trained we would have to take the coaches word for it and then immediately go uncontested if we thought the situation was creating a safety issue for him and others. No difference in other areas player safety is no. 1 priority

Camquin
27-11-15, 15:11
Especially in U16 rugby - where they are big enough to do serious damage

didds
27-11-15, 15:11
If this was a front row situation and the coach had said he's new to the position but is trained we would have to take the coaches word for it and then immediately go uncontested if we thought the situation was creating a safety issue for him and others. No difference in other areas player safety is no. 1 priority

agreed - but at least for safety at FR you can go uncontested. You can't "go uncontested" in open play for tackles etc

didds

Lee Lifeson-Peart
27-11-15, 15:11
Think Sam Burgess. :pepper::biggrin:

(Sorry ...couldn't help myself)

3359

poops

Pegleg
27-11-15, 20:11
I suspect that being boshed and run over by a player to whom you concede 20Kg as a no-hoper is not so very different to being boshed and run over by a player to whom you concede 20Kg as an international.

Hopefully the international or even a regular player win no SN status would be better able to deal with it. Even if that just mean better evaision techniques. To suggest (even in jest) that the Lomu / Catt situation is similar to the one being discussed is "odd" to say the least.

Pegleg
27-11-15, 20:11
If this was a front row situation and the coach had said he's new to the position but is trained we would have to take the coaches word for it and then immediately go uncontested if we thought the situation was creating a safety issue for him and others. No difference in other areas player safety is no. 1 priority

Exactly it is not uncommon for a ref to overrule a coach with regared to STE FR or Head injuries. Whether or not we like it IS (one of) our duty to be the back-stop on the pitch.