Communication with the Referee.

Andy P

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hi all,

Just looking for guidence here. Junior Colts game this weekend and a particular opposition player was going high with his tackles and when being tackled would raise his elbow into the face of the tackler, it was noticable after each occassion he put a player on the ground with his elbow that he didn't take contact for 4-5 play which in my mind indicated that he was prepared to give a hit but not take subsequent feedback. A couple of other players went high but were more unlucky than anything else.

I know the referee is always right, even when wrong, so how from the touch line can you look after the safety of your players. Although a number of penalties were given for hign tackles, the only player spoken to was the one 10 mins before the end of the games after nearly taking the head off the second row.

If the referee isn't going to police it unless he absolutely has to, do you just have to accept it?
 

crossref


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what age group do you mean by junior colts, though, U19?
 

Dixie


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As the coach, you are concerned for the safety of your players irrespective of age. That concern is increased if they are even more vulnerable by reason of physical immaturity.

Ultimately, if you consider that they are in an unsafe environment for whatever reason (including the incompetence of the referee) you should take them off the field and be prepared both to justify and to face the consequences of that action. If you are not prepared to withdraw your troops, it is because while the referee may have a different threshold than you as regards dangerous play, neither of you have reached the point where you feel the danger is unacceptable.
 

Andy P

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As the coach, you are concerned for the safety of your players irrespective of age. That concern is increased if they are even more vulnerable by reason of physical immaturity.

Ultimately, if you consider that they are in an unsafe environment for whatever reason (including the incompetence of the referee) you should take them off the field and be prepared both to justify and to face the consequences of that action. If you are not prepared to withdraw your troops, it is because while the referee may have a different threshold than you as regards dangerous play, neither of you have reached the point where you feel the danger is unacceptable.

Are you saying there is no middle ground, it's either accept or come off?
 

crossref


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Are you saying there is no middle ground, it's either accept or come off?

I think that at U17 the captain should be old enough to be able to approach the referee calmly and discuss concerns.

And half time I think a coach can also have a calm chat.
I am happy for coaches to approach me at half time with any concerns, especially about safety (well, of course, if they thought I was unsafe then I'd be very unhappy :-( , but you know what I mean).
 

Dixie


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Are you saying there is no middle ground, it's either accept or come off?

I think that at U17 the captain should be old enough to be able to approach the referee calmly and discuss concerns.

And half time I think a coach can also have a calm chat.
I am happy for coaches to approach me at half time with any concerns, especially about safety (well, of course, if they thought I was unsafe then I'd be very unhappy :-( , but you know what I mean).
Its a bit of a grey area. The principles of the game say:
it is the responsibility of coaches, captains and players to respect the authority of the match officials
Then there is:

[LAWS]Law 10.4(s) All players must respect the authority of the referee. They must not dispute the referee’s decisions. They must stop playing at once when the referee blows the whistle except at a kick-off or at a penalty kick following admonishment, temporary suspension, or send-off.
Sanction: Penalty kick[/LAWS]

Like Crossref, I would not be outraged were a coach to indicate (politely) that he had an issue with something I was not enforcing. I'd even not be outraged were he to suggest that if it continues, he'll have no option but to withdraw his players and make a report to the relevant authorities. But my response may well be: I ref what I see, and I've seen nothing so far that you're right and I'm wrong. If so, then it does indeed become all or nothing.

If the ref bends to your will, you can also see that the opposition, on hearing of this conversation and perceiving a change in refereeing style, may take the view that they've been disadvantaged - and put in their own complaint. If a coach wants a word, I try to ensure that the oppo coach is there too. If that's not possible, I'll ensure that the oppo coach is made aware of any conversation that may have taken place. This means that I have to consider both sides. But the truth is that as an experienced ref, I'm already doing my best. if it isn't good enough, you'll have to withdraw your players, because I can't improve dramatically in the timescales you have available.
 

The Fat


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The situation as described in the OP raises a related question that annoys me a little when talking about community level rugby. That is the lack of numbers of people prepared to complete an AR course to assist in the running of their club and to support the referee appointed to any community level game.
In my zone, if Andy P's game had an accredited AR running touch, the referee would have at least a second pair of eyes to report foul play. If we have a young referee, and particularly for matches of U15 and up, our club will always attempt to have an accredited AR or another referee run touch to assist the referee. I have heard so many times that for a lot of our forum members they are lucky to have a stray dog run touch for them. This is a sad reflection of the lack of support by local clubs.
Our zone requires clubs to have one accredited AR for each team nominated in the competition (sadly, this "requirement" is not always met but it is not too far off). For example, a junior club that nominates U8, U10, U12, U13, U14, U16 & U17 would need to have either 7 club members complete an AR course or alternatively have a couple of club ARs available so that one of them was available whenever any or all of those teams were playing at home.
The AR does not have to be appointed to the junior games. If there is an accredited AR (or referee), wearing AR or Ref kit, willing to run touch, then he/she can perform all normal AR duties (report foul play etc) to assist the referee. If I do not have an appointment and I know a young ref is doing say an Under 16 or U17 match at my local club, I try my best to get there with kit to run touch. The young refs are very appreciative and sometimes you can sense their relief knowing they have some backup.
People who complete an AR course and become accredited receive a polo shirt (in NSW it is gold with NSW Rugby logo and sponsors logo) to wear during matches so that they are easily identified as being accredited. They also receive an AR flag.
It is so important to have support for young referees officiating at junior matches and also for any referee handling the older junior age grades where the testosterone levels are starting to overtake brain function in many of the players.
All clubs are required to have a Ground Marshall and to provide a scorer.
As for coaches approaching refs at half time, I am not a fan of this where a younger ref is concerned (we all know that some coaches do not have the coolest heads). I believe it is best for all communication to come through the captain. I don't like the idea of having a young ref intimidated by an irate coach at half or full time.

Bottom line is that all clubs should be made to have a certain number of accredited ARs based on the number of teams playing for that club.
 

didds

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Are you saying there is no middle ground, it's either accept or come off?

yup.

You could try to have a friendly word with the ref, but also consider rightly or wrongly

* what that looks like from the opposition's viewpoint
* some will consider such an action as 100% unacceptable whatever the circumstances
* even if you have said word, the ref may choose to ignore it.

I have no other suggestions as to a workable solution unfortunately, and I wish I did.

didds
 

The Fat


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What an excellent idea!:biggrin:

Your other points are very valid too.

LLP,
In our zone, each team has its own book of team sheets. Prior to the match each player's name and ARU rego number is entered and each player signs beside his name. To the right hand side of the match sheet are columns for recording tries, conversions, PKs, DGs, YCs & RCs, and substitutions/replacements/blood bins.
At the bottom of the sheet is space for match result, reports, 3-2-1 best & fairest points (awarded by the match ref), names of ARs/TJs.

Both books are given to the score bench before the match for the scorers who also keep track of rolling subs and replacements. We use a numbered card system and each replacement/sub hands a card to the scorer before going to the AR/TJ to wait for a break in play.

This is why, in other threads, some of the Aussie posters stated that they don't write down the score during the match. I must admit that after ARing for some of our more experienced senior refs, they always seem to know exactly what the score is even though they do not write it down during the match. It is something I must start doing.
 

Dickie E


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Our zone requires clubs to have one accredited AR for each team nominated in the competition (sadly, this "requirement" is not always met but it is not too far off).

In Victoria for juniors, the team is given an extra competition point if they have an accredited AR on the day. Works a treat.
 

menace


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and when being tackled would raise his elbow into the face of the tackler,

sorry to be a bit devious and pointing at the elephant in the room - but if your players are tackling him around the waist/thighs rather than going in so high themselves wouldn't this problem be less of an issue?
 

Davet

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Menace - :clap:

The plaintive call from the touchline of "Legggss!!" as yet another tackle is missed by some kid going too high is a well known feature of age grade rugby.
 

Simon Thomas


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and not infrequent at adult matches at Community levels either !
 

Andy P

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sorry to be a bit devious and pointing at the elephant in the room - but if your players are tackling him around the waist/thighs rather than going in so high themselves wouldn't this problem be less of an issue?

Unfortunately tackles around the waist/thighs don't stop off loads when appropriate and to counter your elephant with a mouse, it still doesn't make it right.
 

Davet

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No they don't - so coach the lads to tackle low, and for a team mate to be ready to tackle whover the ball carrier can offload to - if they are carrying the ball your guys cannot be offside - so get in their faces tackle low, and then tackle the reciever if the player offloads - theu will almost certainly mishandle and you have easy turnover ball.

But tackling high simply leads to players breaking tackles.
 

Andy P

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and in the perfect world described, the elbow isn't a problem either as the opposition would only get their hands on the ball to initiate the restart....unfortunately when you have opposition overlaps and players that are able to off load in the tackle and not mishandle or if you two up tackle a player to drive them back from the try line upper body tackles are necessary. Not many scrum halves, I have seen that run into a prop break through an upper body tackle and not many props I have seen over the years that can bend to tackle much lower. All works when appropriate.
 

menace


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unfortunately when you have opposition overlaps and players that are able to off load in the tackle and not mishandle
and thereby your players going in high will often result in higher risk of an errant elbow or being bumped and missing the tackle not to mention the increased likelihood of conceding a PK for getting it wrong and going too high on the head! I guess that's the risk the player takes for dispensing with the proper tackling techniques. Not sure you can then expect the ref to see the errant elbow the same as you may have.
or if you two up tackle a player to drive them back from the try line upper body tackles are necessary.

agree - again i also see that as a necessary evil to attempt a ball and all tackle - but it means trading off one risk with another and sometimes your tackler comes off 2nd best.

I guess unless the ball carrier is running with his elbow cocked ready to strike then as a ref i see it hard to PK him for an errant elbow that may have instinctively been raised when being tackled high? However I agree if it is 'deliberate' and dangerous I would PK it. (ps - I have PK against a ball carrier leading into the contact with a raised elbow or thrust a palm to the head of the opposition- so Im not saying i would ignore it).
 
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