[Law] Competing in the Air

vrref

Player or Coach
Joined
Nov 20, 2021
Messages
1
Post Likes
0
Current Referee grade:
Level 5
Good Evening,

I am a former high level player, coach with some referee experience, looking to do more as I have been out for a few years and step up a level. I am new to this referee forum as I thought this would be a more appropriate place to post the questions than general rugby forums. I hope that you all would be able to help me with my questions. Thank you in Advance.

I am struggling with the guidance and interpretations of international referees on competing in the air. Tonight England beat South Africa in a fantastic game. I did however struggle to come to terms with some decisions that have effectively decided the result of the game. From someone that is looking to potentially move up a level as a referee and coach, how do we coach a player on the rules, or make decisions in games, if the interpretation on the world stage differs depending on the referee in the game? In the last year and especially in the autumn series, the referees have interpreted this rule with such variety that it is difficult to know what is right. With the amount of high balls being used in rugby and the pressure on young players to not make a decision that would have them sent off or penalised, should we not have a more clearly defined rule and more importantly implementation of these rules?

Questions I have for the Forum, I would truly appreciate your thoughts.


  1. If these 2 crucial decisions (see photos attached) are not legally competing in the air, then what does class as a non-penalty or non-yellow card legal competition in the air? Surely it can't be that players should only compete in the air, if they can jump as high as the other player or competing will not cause the other player to be pushed or fall down as a result of competing?
  2. On the TMO, can anyone remember a TMO ever disagreeing with a referee? What is their actual role, to just play tape, or to genuinely make decisions or disagree with the referee if they think the referee is wrong? Potentially to avoid negative press I assume they just told to always agree with the referees decision?


My interpretation would be similar to the England Players and Coaches who commentated and largely said the same.



  • Although not straight forward in the least, these decisions were made quickly by the referee Andrew Brace and resulted in a penalty and yellow card. All players were clearly running flat out, not taking their eye off the ball and then jumping without being aware of another person doing the same. Genuinely competing. The referee's decision was to say that the players were not genuinely competing, sending 1 player off and giving a penalty for the second. It could have been England on the losing side as it has been many a time before, so when are we going to have firm guidance from World Rugby on how referees should implement difficult rules?
  • Today the rules seemed to have been interpreted that the highest jumper, or the person in the best position should have a clear right to take the ball without any competition. Should we teach rugby players that they should be aware that being a forward means you cannot jump as high as a back row player and therefore should not compete? Or if you do compete, try and watch out for the other player, whilst running and jumping and keeping your eyes on the ball at all times! Surely there has to be a more defined implementation to allow fair and safe competition for a play being used so much in the modern game.

I hope there is some insight that can be provided by the forum.

Thank you

Image 1 & 2- Kolisi & Marchant are running different lines to a ball kicked over the defensive line. Looking at the ball the entire time, Kolisi Jumps as high as a forward can and then is beaten in the air by Marchant as a back with a better running line. The commentators seem to agree that it was the wrong decision. Referee Decision - Kolisi is given a yellow card and sent off as he was not competing for the ball.

Image 3&4 - Etzebeth & Steyn both running flat out whilst looking at the ball the entire time, then jumping to a ball that is, at the time of jumping in between the two of them and Freddie Stewart (btw what a talent). Referee Decision - Penalty against South Africa, match over. TMO not required to look at potential infringement after contest in the air.

gea2TUbB_t.png

gea2TUbB


0zTT4iFj_t.png


ZuDLiorf_t.png


FBdNINeI_t.png

hYnL1WR

NYmHwRr
cQc9JWw
rZbBGSk
 

crossref


Referees in England
Joined
Sep 14, 2009
Messages
19,729
Post Likes
2,245
The international game is different from the community game .. different objectives, no TMO, no video, and often no ARs .
Studying the international game is not really going to help you ref on Saturday!
 

chbg


Referees in England
Joined
May 15, 2009
Messages
1,296
Solutions
1
Post Likes
292
Current Referee grade:
Level 8
And actually Kolisi was sent of for transferring his effort into wrapping/tackling Marchant whilst the later was still in the air.
 

didds

Resident Club Coach
Joined
Jan 27, 2004
Messages
10,806
Post Likes
1,218
The international game is different from the community game .. different objectives, no TMO, no video, and often no ARs .
Studying the international game is not really going to help you ref on Saturday!


This. Maybe sadly so, but CR is bang on.

didds
 

Phil E


Referees in England
Staff member
Joined
Jan 22, 2008
Messages
15,484
Post Likes
1,786
Current Referee grade:
Level 8
I did however struggle to come to terms with some decisions that have effectively decided the result of the game.

Welcome to the forum, but I have to take exception to the sentence above.
It's the players decisions that determine the outcome of the game not the referees.
Both parties will make mistakes and this is accepted as part of the game.

As other have said Kosli may have started off competing for the ball, but when he realised he wasn't going to win it he tackled the player in the air. Stone cold penalty for me. I cant remember the other one and wont make a judgement based on still photographs).

Worth remembering though that having your eye on the ball and holding your arms out doesn't necessarily mean you are in a position to compete for the ball.
 
Top