Refereeing The World Cup, And Scrums

The referees at the World Cup have come in for some fearful stick at times during this tournament.

It’s understandable that some of the country’s coaches have reacted with such venom towards certain decisions and outcomes.

This is the highest pressurised environment of the lot and jobs are very much on the line.

But, at the same time, I have a huge amount of sympathy for the officials.

Refereeing a rugby match is such a hard job that they are bound to miss things.

They are very professional people and they are full-time now and take great pride in what they do.

The rules of our game are so complicated though that it’s tough and I feel sorry for them.

There is a lot of interpretation in rugby and the rules at the breakdown for example are plenty and change every year with regard to tweaks here and tweaks there.

If you refereed every breakdown to the letter of the law each time, I am certain you could award a penalty one way or another at every single one. That illustrates just how much of an influence rugby referees have on outcomes of a game.

In tight games, that influence can obviously help decide a game one way or another and that can lead to the sort of frustration that encourages criticism from head coaches.

It is something that the game needs to address. I think there is far too much time spent at scrum time and far too many penalties coming from that area of the game.

Tightening that up would make the game a better spectacle.

How and what to do? Now that is a different question.


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