Referees in England
- Nov 8, 2018
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I just wanted to canvas opinion on the advantage Wayne Barnes played at the end of the first half in the Wales v Australia match. The video is attached but, to summarise, time was up when Wales gained a penalty advantage from a scrum on the half way line. Play continues and they run the ball, ending up being held up over the line. Anscombe asks Barnes if they can go back for the penalty to which he laugh and says “you’ve advanced 55 metres”.
WB's decision can clearly be justified in law but it started me thinking if referees should consider what stage the game is at when deciding when advantage is over. In this particular case Wales clearly had the time to play the ball as they wished and so tactical advantage could be said to have been gained, however we frequently see that, for decisions closer to the posts which, when teams fail to score, are blown up and brought back for the penalty. In this case WB considered that a 55m gain in territory was sufficient and yet, as time was up, Wales had no opportunity to benefit from that gain in territory and the only way they could have benefitted from the advantage being played was to score. Whether they had advanced 5m or 55m no territorial gain was possible unless another penalty had been conceded.
I was left thinking that if the same scenario had occurred in the 20th minute, then no problem as Wales had advanced a significant distance up the field and had gained a territorial advantage but not so after time has elapsed. I also suspect that in the same scenario but 25m out from the posts, and time is up, he would have gone back for the penalty.
So, apologies for the longish post but I wanted to be clear that WB was perfectly entitled to make the call but it left a niggle in my mind and I wondered if anyone else would have considered going back for the penalty or was a territorial gain really sufficient advantage?
Secondary question also, given law 7.3c (which to be fair I didn’t recall until afterwards) says “Advantage must not be applied when a scrum is wheeled through 90 degrees,” should advantage have been played at all?