Man Off Rule: Bath v Northampton

Waspsfan


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Really interesting Premiership clash last night which has well and truly brought 'man off' and 'STE' into the public eye.

Bath have their replacement hooker injured with about 15-20 minutes to go in a very close and important game. Their starting hooker is already replaced due to injury.

Matt Carley (who I thought was superb under pressure) enquired if Bath had anyone else capable of playing hooker and is informed 'no'. This is after discussion with the Bath sideline and fourth official Wayne Barnes. MC informs Bath players that the scrums are therefore now uncontested and that Bath are not allowed to replace their injured hooker and will have to play with 14!

Queue much anger from Bath who seem to have never even heard of this ruling, with an equally idiotic response from the BT Sport commentators. Bath particularly upset as this didn't come up in their Gloucester game recently which went uncontested (because the prop was red carded hence no 'man off')

Realising they will have to play with 14, the Bath replacement prop declares I can play hooker. After discussion MC goes with the player's declaration of STE and the game continues 15 each with contested scrums. Lots to discuss!

Some messy scrums after that and hilarious not straights at lineout but fortunately no injuries.

Game ends with a big screen decision regarding a late hit which the entire Bath crowd want giving as it will win Bath the match. MC declares no penalty (right call) and very good under intense pressure.
 

crossref


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Well, I was certainly under the impression that man off doesn't apply in Premiership games. Is it possible to check?
 
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Jacko


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Well, I was certainly under the impression that man off doesn't apply in Premiership games. Is it possible to check?

It does apply.
 

didds

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well it highlights the following at least

* Bath were either lieing or ignorant (I do not suggest they are alone in this) wrt man off and replacement hooker
* Bath's coaches clearly have no wheels-off-the-bus planning in place... eg none of the normal throwers being on the pitch. AIUI you need a minimum of a Level 3 to coach in the premiership and in reality they will be Level 4. Part of the level 3 competency is injury/card tactics and pre-planned/considered options. These are pro players with all the time in the world. Does nobody see a benefit of having more than the #2s able to throw? i.e. " hilarious not straights at lineout"

didds
 

Toby Warren


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Firstly what a good game and it was superbly officiated - he was so calm. I particularly liked the (when coming under pressure over the man off). 'Time is off we need to get to the right outcome'

The question I suppose is which person's opinion is more 'valid' the touch line or the player with refereance to STE?
 

Toby Warren


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Firstly what a good game and it was superbly officiated - he was so calm. I particularly liked the (when coming under pressure over the man off). 'Time is off we need to get to the right outcome'

The question I suppose is which person's opinion is more 'valid' the touch line or the player with refereance to STE?

The final call also showed the value of the TMO for foul play. TJ flags in a report - but says please check. They do and get to the right outcome of play on (which was game over)
 

Dixie


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It does apply.
Chapter and verse would be interesting. It is not immediately obvious that this is the case.

[LAWS]Regulation 13.2 RFU Competitions
13.2.1 All RFU Competitions (League and Cups) are governed by this RFU Regulation 13 save that in respect of the Premiership, the Championship, the Anglo-Welsh Cup and the British & Irish Cup (or as the same may be known from time to time), the provisions of this RFU Regulation 13 are varied to the extent set out in any supplemental Regulations issued by the RFU Council relating to those specific competitions. Other than as varied by any such competition specific Regulations, the remaining provisions of this RFU Regulation 13 shall remain in full force and effect.

In the event of any inconsistency between any competition specific Regulations and this RFU Regulation 13, the provisions of such competition specific Regulations shall prevail. [/LAWS]

[LAWS]Regulation 13.5.11 Uncontested Scrums

(b) In League Matches at Levels 3 and below, Cup Matches and Play-Off Matches if on any occasion (other than a temporary blood injury) uncontested scrums are ordered by the Referee, in accordance with (a)(i) above, due to injury or consequent to a player being temporarily suspended or ordered off, the team concerned shall not be entitled to replace the player whose departure caused the uncontested scrum. On the return to the field of a front row player who has been temporarily excluded the Match shall continue with contested scrums provided it is safe to do so. Subject to RFU Regulation 13.5.14 below the result of the match shall stand.[/LAWS]

So on the face of it, Man Off does not apply to the Premiership or the Championship (L.1 and L.2). Having deliberately and specifically excluded those leagues from the Man Off provision of Regulation 13, it would need a specific variation by the RFU Council to overturn the exemption they had previously been at pains to put in place. I have not found any site detailing the rules in place for the Premiership, but surely any variance issued by the RFU Council would be a Council document, not a Premiership one. I have not been able to uncover any such document.
 

crossref


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Secret regulations?

Has anyone seen man off in a premiership match
 

Waspsfan


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Yes. Last night. Hence the OP.
 

crossref


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Before last night i meant.!

I must say, if I was refereeing, once a club specifically and directly told me that a player was not STE there is no way I would subsequently let him come on and play.. .
 

tim White


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I would suggest that the higher the level of the team, the more the man-off rule should apply; including internationals
 

The Fat


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Game ends with a big screen decision regarding a late hit which the entire Bath crowd want giving as it will win Bath the match. MC declares no penalty (right call) and very good under intense pressure.

Was MC playing a penalty advantage to Bath when they attempted the drop goal? Was he playing advantage for the Lawes incident? If so, Bath can feel hard done by. If he was playing advantage for something else, what was it?

This is my only possible criticism of what seemed to be a very good performance by the ref.
 

The umpire


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I would suggest that the higher the level of the team, the more the man-off rule should apply; including internationals

Particularly as it was the alleged shenanigans of a Premiership team frequently having conveniently uncontested scrums which gave rise to the rule in the first place!
 

Toby Warren


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Was MC playing a penalty advantage to Bath when they attempted the drop goal? Was he playing advantage for the Lawes incident? If so, Bath can feel hard done by. If he was playing advantage for something else, what was it?

This is my only possible criticism of what seemed to be a very good performance by the ref.

This is an excellent point. He was playing advantage as a result of the AR's flag.
 

Skids


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This is an excellent point. He was playing advantage as a result of the AR's flag.

That was the main point from the Bath coach in the post-match interview; Bath #10 attempted a (failed) DG because he believed Bath had a penalty advantage. Subsequently ruled as no penalty, would they have attempted the DG? Not sure how this can be addressed but it did seem a little unfair. They were in the Saints' half and pressing for a try.
 

crossref


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Anyway, back to the OP.
The RFU documents Dixie found state that man off does not apply
No one can find any examples of Man off being previously enforced

Does it seem to to be the case that bath was right and the referee wrong?

In any event bath are in trouble

Either they lied about their player STE status in an attempt to have uncontested scrums or they played an non STE player as hooker. Either way they will face a sanction won't they?
 

Waspsfan


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That was the main point from the Bath coach in the post-match interview; Bath #10 attempted a (failed) DG because he believed Bath had a penalty advantage. Subsequently ruled as no penalty, would they have attempted the DG? Not sure how this can be addressed but it did seem a little unfair. They were in the Saints' half and pressing for a try.

The solution is that now we have TMO reviews the old interactions between the AR and referee need updating. Pre TMO it was vital for the AR to 'flag' when he saw foul play. It told the referee, spectators and players that he had seen foul play and under no circumstances was that foul play not going to be acted upon so the ref could play on accordingly and go back for the penalty.

Now the AR can 'flag' and then say 'I think I saw foul play - check with the TMO'. In the this scenario I don't think he should actually flag. I would anticipate a new piece of communication over the comms such as 'TMO'. This would indicate to the ref that at the next break in play the AR wants the TMO involved'.

The Bath scenario could have been worse. Imagine if rather than hit the drop goal Bath had spun the ball wide and it had been intercepted by George North who sprints off down field, is clearly not going to be caught and will score a winning try for Saints. Now the ref, because of the flag, stops the game to go back for the 'penalty'. This would have been catastrophic when the TMO replay shows it wasn't foul play.
 

The Fat


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Now the AR can 'flag' and then say 'I think I saw foul play - check with the TMO'. In the this scenario I don't think he should actually flag. I would anticipate a new piece of communication over the comms such as 'TMO'. This would indicate to the ref that at the next break in play the AR wants the TMO involved'.

Agree.
AR needs to be sure that there has been foul play when he sticks the flag out.
Your suggestion of not to flag but use comms with a call of TMO seems good BUT..... do comms work perfectly 100% of the time? You just know that they will fail when you need them most.
 

RobLev

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