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Taffy


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Don't want to open up an old thread but interested to see how things lie across the other parts of the UK.

Had a local derby yesterday, two third teams. Home team very gobby from the outset, appeals, looks of shock and horror, hands thrown in the air. You get the picture. The match went like this.

1st time - told skipper and reminded him of the deal pre match

2nd time. Penalty

3rd time (immediately after second time). 10 yards and another

4th time - team warning

5th time - yellow card.

Then the game settled down.

Afterwards the home team prop told me a couple of things that surprised me

1. "It's only social rugby sir, you were taking it too seriously"

2. "You were far stricter than we are used to, we normally get away with all that and more"

And yet, both teams agreed that they enjoyed the very close game.

The opposing team coach that was running touch said "I thought you were over the top in the first ten minutes, but it certainly sorted them out and we had a great game of rugby".

Yet the captain of the home side told me that I needed to realise that the game was not "all about me".

Interesting as for a ten minute period I was the centre of attention. But also interesting a level 5 ref was playing and told me that I had got the home team to "shut up" which was more than he had ever done.

I'm not posting for plaudits but would be interested to know:

1. Is this why we are Losing grass roots refs?

2. It is social rugby - any strength to the claim?

3. Is this just yet another confirmation that you should stick to your guns early on and brazen out the "centre of attention period" to establish control?
 

Adam


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It's an interesting topic this, and one that I'm constantly learning and improving on.

Pre-match to captains: we've been asked to cut off appealing and chat, I'm looking to you guys to deal with it.

I may start off with a comment such as "give me a chance mate" or something.

Generally speaking I will only penalise/take them back 10 once (march is an awful word).

Players are supposed to determine results of matches, and I hate giving those decisions which are based around me and not players determining the result.

The groundwork with the captain is very important. Refer back to the pre-match brief, "we agreed you'd sort this beforehand, have a word with X". Use a look that portrays that he needs to sort something. "Your players are going to start giving penalties away if they keep appealing/chatting, it's distracting us all from the game". After a penalty, "captain, go and speak to your players about the verbals, there may be an escalation next time".

If you are good enough at putting the monkey on the captain's back early on, in particular at the pre-PK and PK stages, and your YC warning is depersonalised and powerful enough then that escalation happens less frequently.

The key is depersonalising it, "you need to deal with this", "you have a problem", "there may be an escalation" not "I'll escalate next time". This takes the emotion out of it and gives a great message to the captain.
 

Taffy


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Adam,

do you concur that the best matches have been where you have dealt with it early on?

and I am surprised that it is still prevalent at your level.
 

Not Kurt Weaver


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I'm not posting for plaudits but would be interested to know:

1. Is this why we are Losing grass roots refs?

2. It is social rugby - any strength to the claim?

3. Is this just yet another confirmation that you should stick to your guns early on and brazen out the "centre of attention period" to establish control?

1. Yes, it ended me
2. No, players can still get injured or assaulted in social rugby
3. Yes, I wish I would have had instruction for just this before I did my first match and refreshed on this method monthly
 

Dickie E


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do you concur that the best matches have been where you have dealt with it early on?

Yes, must be dealt with early but not necessarily harshly.

The key is the relationship with the captain.
 

Taffy


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1. Yes, it ended me
2. No, players can still get injured or assaulted in social rugby
3. Yes, I wish I would have had instruction for just this before I did my first match and refreshed on this method monthly

Would be interested to know factually how many refs have left because of this. Do we conduct any "exit polls"?

If, as I suspect it is a BIG issue (and perhaps more so at grass roots where the new guys like me are trying to get their head around the whole picture and jigsaw) then what should the societies do about it. Have to say that I get the impression that the clubs tend to regard the refs as "the enemy" which is just plain daft.
 

Dave Sherwin


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Couple of thoughts:

1. I would agree that this is a rising issue at all levels (though I find US college rugby to be quieter than most!). I've had (admittedly developing union) internationals where I've had to work pretty hard on this point.

2. I would endorse all of Adam's points.

3. I noticed you used the word "control". I have had it drilled into me that the referee is not there to control the game but to facilitate it. I don't think this is a purely semantic difference. Watch Luke Pearce when you next have the chance; I think his approach to appealing and the way he facilitates rather than controls the game is outstanding. I suspect this comes from having been refereeing men's matches when he was still so young he had to cycle to matches and thus any attempt to "control" would probably have ended in disaster.
 

Dickie E


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"I hear what you're saying but I saw it differently" and "I'll keep an eye out for that next time" seem to work wonders
 

Simon Thomas


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Would be interested to know factually how many refs have left because of this. Do we conduct any "exit polls"?

If, as I suspect it is a BIG issue (and perhaps more so at grass roots where the new guys like me are trying to get their head around the whole picture and jigsaw) then what should the societies do about it. Have to say that I get the impression that the clubs tend to regard the refs as "the enemy" which is just plain daft.

Taffy, it will depend on the Society and who the volunteer management are, the time they have available etc but many Societies do track the reasons (declared and actual) for a referee leaving the Society / reffing totally. This has been a key part of our Recruitment & Retention strategies.
The RFU have a number of times in the past looked into the reasons and introduced various initiatives to reduce the churn rate and reinforce the rugby culture & ethos.
 
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OB..


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1. Is this why we are Losing grass roots refs?

2. It is social rugby - any strength to the claim?

3. Is this just yet another confirmation that you should stick to your guns early on and brazen out the "centre of attention period" to establish control?
1. We had a L% ref give up becasue of eth player's attitudes.
2. None whatsoever. (Do they really change attitude when playing a league or cup game?!)
3. Yes.


Players are supposed to determine results of matches, and I hate giving those decisions which are based around me and not players determining the result.
Dealing with it is not about you. It is about misbehaviour by the players and it is their fault if they suffer accordingly.
 

crossref


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2. It is social rugby - any strength to the claim?

I remember an experienced ref telling me (after I had had a tricky game) : cup, league, friendly, testimonial, just-for-fun : from the ref's point of view it doesn't matter: it's just another game that can potentially run away out of control if you let it.
 

Adam


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1. We had a L% ref give up becasue of eth player's attitudes.
2. None whatsoever. (Do they really change attitude when playing a league or cup game?!)
3. Yes.


Dealing with it is not about you. It is about misbehaviour by the players and it is their fault if they suffer accordingly.

I agree. I don't like doing it. That doesn't mean I don't do it if I have to.
 

chbg


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The most unpleasant match I have ever probably played in was last season when the Service opposition (of course) No 8 (an ex-National 1 player apparently) ruined it for everyone else by constantly appealing and back-chatting the new-ish referee (who has not since given up). It eventually irked both sets of senior (age-wise) players into verbalising badly as well. As a result, I was fully fore-armed when refereeing his team a couple of months later. After the first 5 minutes in which he had been warned and then penalised, he was as good as gold for the rest of the match. Apparently his own team appreciated the peacefulness! I did not specifically warn him in the PMB as that felt to me to be too close to premeditated victimisation.
 

Na Madrai


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I allow no appealing, by word or gesture, in any match in which I officiate. At the first sign, both captains are warned, second, a penalty is awarded, third, a card is presented. At one match this season, a player received a RC in the first quarter and it was treated as referee abuse at the hearing.

One instance occured when I was receiving my annual MOT. The full back, standing fully fifty yards from the ruck, shouted that a player was holding on. The penalty awarded at where he was standing eventually led to a try. The advisor's comment on the incident simply stated that NM's management style was quickly and clearly established for both players and spectators to see.

If every referee showed zero tolerance, chat would be wiped out immediately.

NM
 

TheBFG


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I believe there is a difference between players that talk their way through a game and those that are out to try and sway a refs decisions.

I have no issue with players that voice "knock on" or "forward" as just part of a reaction to what's going on around them, but when players start shouting at me i'll draw a line.

I have to say though that when the backs start caling for things in the rucks/scrums I usually laugh more than ping them, they soon shut up!
 

andyscott


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Ok this is going to sound wrong and but it shouldnt.

It IS all about you as a referee. The players go out and play their best, they dont go out and play a bit easier because they used to play high level rugby and now dont, they play their best. So should you as a referee.

I have high standards for backchat and will enforce it at any level.

I have refereed a relatively low level league game this year and the players loved it. 2nd ruck of the game, YC dangerous charging and then a YC about 10mins in for a cynical not 10m. The game opened right up. The players loved this. Sure you got the odd I thought it was harsh at this level, my only response is, "did it work?" followed by a smile :)

Never have I subscribed to the notion that you let things go because of X and at this level they are doing it by mistake. I ref every game like its my world cup final and all teams respond.
 

andyscott


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I allow no appealing, by word or gesture, in any match in which I officiate. At the first sign, both captains are warned, second, a penalty is awarded, third, a card is presented. At one match this season, a player received a RC in the first quarter and it was treated as referee abuse at the hearing.

One instance occured when I was receiving my annual MOT. The full back, standing fully fifty yards from the ruck, shouted that a player was holding on. The penalty awarded at where he was standing eventually led to a try. The advisor's comment on the incident simply stated that NM's management style was quickly and clearly established for both players and spectators to see.

If every referee showed zero tolerance, chat would be wiped out immediately.

NM

Spot on. Set standards and enforce them.
 
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