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Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Super 14: Referees to whistle different with same laws

Source: Beeld

The laws were not changed, but several pointers as to how they should be apllied are to be given to Sanzar referees following recent meetings of the IRB and Sanzar. They will apply to scrums, line-outs and mauls with the purpose of creating more continuity. The stricter applications will take immediate effect.

Mark Lawrence, one of the country's top referees, explained the pointers to Liam del Carme of Beeld.

More attention would be paid to the pause allowed before the forwards engaged in a scrum. Attention would also be paid to the receiver at the line-out, on players who did not bind properly at the mauls and the attacking team would get more of the benefit in the interpretation of what constituted a forward pass.


Lawrence outlined what referees would look for when a scrum was formed. "At times the front row will bend down to only about three-quarters and then barge in just before the referee orders the packs to engage. The opponents can then not manage a proper hit. There will be a significant pause between 'hold' and 'engage' in future.

"We want to ensure that the game will not be similar to Rugby League and that the two teams can compete fairly for the ball," Lawrence explained.

The throw-in at the scrums will also be studied carefully. The ball need not be thrown in exactly at
the middle of the line-out, but it should be a credible throw-in. If one draws an imaginary line through the middle of the scrum, a part of the ball should at least touch that line.

"The throw-in should be fair but need not give both teams equal opportunity. The loose-forwards must also bind properly."


There should be no doubt about who the receiver will be. The player identified as the receiver must be roughly one meter away from the line-out. The hooker of the side not throwing in the ball, may not move towards the line-out until the ball has left the hands of the thrower.

"We wanted to ensure that the uncertainty preceding the throw-in be eliminated" Lawrence said.


Joining a maul will be under scrutiny as well. Players have to realise is that they should ensure that their goal line is square behind them when they join the maul.

The space (gates) through which they may join is determined by the ball-carrier and the defender. If they join from outside those boundaries (gates) they may be punished.

So they're going to try applying the scrum law again - which does not allow you to put the ball under your lock's feet.
We'll see how far they get this time.
Players regularly up to five metres in front of the kicker at kick-offs also comes to mind.

The only thing wrong with putting the ball into the scrums, is that the Scrummies ALWAYS put tbe ball under their own players feet/legs/tunnel, and the Refs ALWAYS let them get away with it in the pursuit of continuity.

The biggest help to the WHOLE game of rugby would be to take ALL discretionary power away from the Refs, and make them apply the rules as laid down in the rule-book.

I also note that the Lineout is going to be even more difficult to stop cheating,

here we go again.  
And the return to international rugby will give the Kiwis and Aussies the uniwue experience of seeing just how bad our referees are. This way they can suffer the irrationality of Jonathan Kaplan the way our provincial teams have to as well.


I agree with that suggestion. It's the dicretionary power that gives us abberations like Stuart Dickenson and Jonathan Kaplan who have widely differing views on the way the game should be blown as compared to the rest of rugby watching humanity.

Every year the SANZAR referees come out and promise that this year they'll be standardising the application of the rules.

And the only consistent result is player confusion when the teams meet with us Jaaps getting confused when players get yellowed for play that would be totally allowable in our domestic competition and New Zealand's media questioning the abilities of our refs (the way our media does) when Jonathan Kaplan interprets the maul laws differently to what they're used to in the NPC.

The result is you see a ref with his hand in the air and a confused skipper of the penalised team walking away and shaking his head.
Of course with the ref mostly standing on the throwing in team's side of the line-out he's in a perfect position to judge whether the the ball was in skew or not.  

Nevertheless judging the line-outs this way will ensure the Aussies will have to let the opposition compete on their own throw and rob the Aussies of their most potent attacking base...

I think that's something SA and Kiwi fans can live with.
No-one has ever explained satisfactorily why we did away with the strict enforcement of the put-in to a scrum being exactly down the middle. I don't believe the law was ever changed and I cannot see why it can't be enforced as it used to be.

If this silly skew put-in stuff is allowed, then there should equally be no reason to enforce straight throw-ins at the line-out.
Il Postino
Beats me too.
I know there are those that want to see the scrum as merely a re-starting point but, as you said, the laws were never changed.

I tend to agree with Patrick. Speedcops should have discretion, referees none.
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