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Post by Rugby Fan on Mon Oct 22, 2018 4:09 pm

I can fully understand the desire by World Rugby to lower tackle heights. The reason I think we are at sixes and sevens right now is that the roll-out of the new law has been inadequate, and has caused confusion.

It was relatively easy to eradicate the tip tackle. You didn't see many tip tackles in the game until around the end of the amateur era. It's a technique which players learned, and had to make a conscious effort to employ, so it wasn't particularly difficult for them to stop doing it. By contrast, some of the collisions resulting in high tackles are more instinctive. There are definitely more than there used to be, but, even in amateur days, there were a fair few people going high out of poor tackle technique, or a last ditch attempt to slow someone down.

I think you can change people's instincts, so it's by no means a fruitless effort. It seems to me, though, that World Rugby treated this like any other law change, when they are actually changing a fundamental aspect of the sport. Compounding the problem, is that officials need to be showing high levels of consistency, so players can be clear early on about what is no longer acceptable, but that hasn't happened so far.

Two recent red card decisions have involved two of the most experienced players in the world game. Three on-field officials and a TMO decided that George Smith had committed a red card offence. A disciplinary panel overturned the decision. Meanwhile, three on-field officials and a TMO decided Jerome Kaino had committed a yellow card offence, while the panel decided it should have been red.

Firtsly, that's two top players in controversial incidents, so even the best are getting caught up. Secondly, that's an awful lot of official who can't agree on what constitutes a red card offence. World Rugby doesn't want to embarass officials, who have a hard enough time as it is, and yet it seems they still need as much education as the players.

There should be a higher degree of centralization here. I'd advocate comprehensive, weekly reviews of major professional games, where World Rugby's refereeing panel rules on incidents, with footage made public, so referees, coaches, players and supporters know what the official line is. Not a permanent arrangement, just a means to a specific end, as we head closer to the World Cup.

You can't change on field decisions, and I'm not even advocating that these reviews should overturn disciplinary panel decisions. Rather, it should be a case of "This is what we expect to see, so if that's not what happened, then we are falling short somewhere".

As it stands, we are all seeing GIFs of incidents after each match which look a lot like those were cards were shown. In many cases, we still don't know whether the reason they didn't draw similar punishments is because they were all right, have just gone unnoticed, or whether the video footage is not clear enough to adjudicate.

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Post by Brendan on Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:31 pm

Just because they don't hold a press conference to hang out the ref doesn't mean they don't correct the ref. Yes calls were and will be missed. The rule/directive as far as I know is contact with the face in a tackle is a Red.

In the Pro14 each ref gets a detailed report of the correct decisions made aswell as the wrong ones and the missed one. I can't see how people think that any ref this weekend won't get a call from the ERPC until the start of the next round when they will get a call about where to be.

Ref have to make decisions in the heat of battle, the Citing Commission has lots of time and are away from all the emotion and have probably seen the situation more as well.

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Post by LondonTiger on Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:26 pm

Face or head?

If it is to reduce concussion should be either. Plus who defines what is the face?

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Post by Rugby Fan on Tue Oct 23, 2018 1:55 am

Brendan wrote:The rule/directive as far as I know is contact with the face in a tackle is a Red...
And yet, that's not how Nigel Owens just described it on Brian Moore's podcast this week.

He said the first thing a referee has to decide with these incidents is "Has there been foul play?" He went on to say that there are some collisions which are rugby incidents and not foul play. I want to know what these are, because I'm sure there's no consensus in rugby right now on that matter.

Owens then said if there has been foul play involving a shoulder on head collision (or head on head) then the starting position should be a red, and, after that, the referee should consider mitigating circumstances to downgrade to yellow, or just a penalty. For instance, if the tackler was pushed off balance by another player, or if the ball carrier dipped suddenly.

On the same podcast Martyn Williams, who is a broadly supportive of the new laws (or at least understands that they aren't going away, so players have to adapt), was frustrated accidents seemed to be drawing red cards. He would prefer, if there is any doubt, that on field officials to go for yellow card sanctions, and let the disciplinary panel upgrade afterwards.

By my understanding of the guidance given to referees, Cipriani warranted a red. And yet, the referee apologised to him when he showed the card. It may seem a small gripe, but officials shouldn't apologize for emforcing the law because it creates the impression that he would rather not show a red, but has been told to do so, or even that he thought it was probably just an accident, in which case, according to Owens, it shouldn't have been red.

I don't doubt that referees are getting feedback on decisions but it would help immensely if we all got feedback, so we can all get a clearer understanding in a matter of weeks, rather than spending a whole season ahead of a World Cup wondering why one incident got a red card but another similar one didn't even draw a penalty.

I understand we can't have complete clarity, because there are always incidents when people just can't agree on what they are seeing.  Still, we can get some principles clearer. George Smith's card was rescinded because he demonstrated, to the panel's satisfaction, that he hadn't made contact with the ball carrier's head. Whether we think he did or not, at least we know why he was let off.

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Post by RugbyFan100 on Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:12 pm

Rugby Fan wrote:
Owens then said if there has been foul play involving a shoulder on head collision (or head on head) then the starting position should be a red

^

Sometimes I can see why certain incidents are missed by the referee. It's a fast moving game. But when the TMO, or even worse.... the citing commissioner are not saying these are worthy of red cards when Mr Owens has clearly stated that ^ just beggars belief.

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Post by LondonTiger on Tue Oct 23, 2018 3:46 pm

Only fittings are two for Pau from a Challenge Cup game with Stade Francais.

If I was Cips lawyer I would be taking videos of the plethora of challenges that were as bad or worse in with me.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Tue Oct 23, 2018 4:44 pm

LondonTiger wrote:Only fittings are two for Pau from a Challenge Cup game with Stade Francais.

If I was Cips lawyer I would be taking videos of the plethora of challenges that were as bad or worse in with me.
Listening to most of the rugby podcasts this week, that seems to be the biggest issue.

Certainly, there are some people who think efforts to make the sport safe are misguided, because rugby is inherently unsafe. Having said that, there are more players, pundits and fans who accept (begrudgingly or otherwise) the changes as a necessary development.

Almost everyone I have read says Cipriani probably deserved a red but they also think there are worse tackles than his - in intent, execution and outcome - virtually every weekend. On such a supercharged issue for the game, which can have severe consequences in a match, I think the authorities need to call out incidents officials missed or explan why they were good decisions.

I'm willing to believe there's a good rugby reason Twelvetrees and Stander stayed on the pitch while Cipriani didn't. Unless someone tells me, though, I don't know if it was a mistake or good judgement.

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Post by Geen sport voor watjes on Tue Oct 23, 2018 11:12 pm

Good idea for you lads to discuss this amongst yourselves. Enjoy it

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Post by Kingshu on Tue Oct 23, 2018 11:26 pm

I think theres an area like Cipriani where a black card is needed. By the rules its red but its very harsh and yellow may have been fairer. Black card
Player sent off and after 10 mins a sub can come on as long as the team has subs left.
This way the player is removed but the offending team are not a man down for the rest of the game. Man down for 10mins and a forced substitution seams fairer for these than just straight out red.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Wed Oct 24, 2018 10:48 am

LondonTiger wrote:Only fittings are two for Pau from a Challenge Cup game with Stade Francais.

If I was Cips lawyer I would be taking videos of the plethora of challenges that were as bad or worse in with me.

The ride inconsistencies in the application of the new law interpretation is making the whole thing a farce.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Wed Oct 24, 2018 11:56 am

My concern is that the aim of the new law is to change behaviour. That's much harder to do, if you aren't making it clear to everyone - officials, players, coaches and the general public - which behaviour is acceptable, and which is not.

Players will get the message to go lower. I don't think, for instance, that CJ Stander and Billy Twelvetrees will look back on both their challenges and want to keep doing them because they weren't penalized in this match. I susepect they will believe they were lucky to ahve got away with one.

Meanwhile, though, matches will be unbalanced if some offences continue to get the ultimate punishment and others don't. And supporters.viewers will be left confused by officiatiang which seems even more capricious than usual.

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Post by poissonrouge on Wed Oct 24, 2018 12:10 pm

If I was Cips lawyer I would be taking videos of the plethora of challenges that were as bad or worse in with me.
Not relevant really. If there are other challenges that warranted a red and another ref/TMO made a mistake it doesn't give an excuse. Two wrongs don't make a right.
The problem of consistency in the decision making whether it is on field, TMO led or citing panel is the real difficulty. And even with the best will in the world "errors" will still occur whether that means someone is carded wrongly or gets away with an illegal hit. However hopefully over time the decision making will get more consistent with feedback to refs (and I suppose the effects of castigation in the public arena when an obvious error was made).
The important principle is that something needs to be done to minimise the risk of serious head injuries - and that will be a painful process. And the choice (as I read somewhere but can't remember where) is between short term where there are a lot of players sent off or the longer term where the game is seriously affected by the consequences of post concussive problems in older players
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Post by LondonTiger on Wed Oct 24, 2018 12:27 pm

The irony for me redfish is that the one controversial tackle that led to a concussion for the ball carrier was deemed to be an acceptable challenge by the disciplinary committee.

I agree we need to lower tackle heights (though players ducking must be a mitigating factor) certainly to below the armpit but with most concussions in the tackle area actually happening to the tackler it will not reduce the problem - but should prevent an increase.


Some teams are already changing their tactics with regard to two man tackles. Previously the first man tended to go lower with the second man going higher to tie up the ball. I saw a few teams this weekend having the first man going very low (chop tackle) and the second man instantly jackalling. Of course a few years ago instructions to refs seemed to be trying to outlaw the chop tackle as so often it appears no arms are used.

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