Managing repeated offside at the breakdown?

Stu10


Referees in England
Joined
Mar 10, 2020
Messages
883
Post Likes
478
Current Referee grade:
Level 15 - 11
I'm looking for some opinions and advice. This relates to an u15 game, which may slightly change opinions (and I considered to put this in the Junior Rugby forum), but I can see the same thing potentially happening at a low level adult game or a development game. Equally, I would value if/how you might act differently for a typical adult game.

Players on both teams were doing a poor job of respecting the offside line at the breakdowns, and throughout the first half I decided whether each instance was material and whether to penalise. I had warned players to step back and I did speak to both captains. Overall it wasn't ideal but also not terrible.

The second half started in the same manner as the first regarding offside at breakdowns, so I was a bit quicker to whistle with slightly less consideration of material vs immaterial. Red quickly changed behaviour but blue did not.

During the second half I considered that blue players did not appear to understand where the offside line was. At breakdowns their guard was typically stood adjacent to the breakdown. I didn't see a single player look to the back of the breakdown to determine the back foot. At one point I called in the blue players to explain what I was looking for and to set themselves by the backfoot of the breakdown, but they still did not change.

It game was tight and penalties fairly even in the first half, though in the second half red benefited from more penalties against blue for offside. However, should I have gone further and issued one or more YC? Should I have used my YC in the first half when it was first starting to get problematic?

Factors on my mind:
- I have a high threshold for YC for technical infringements at junior games - I think this is a personal thing that I think I need to review.
- Amazingly I don't recall any instances in the red zone, with 90% of the game played between the 22m lines. I would award a YC if repeated offside affected a clear scoring opportunity.
- I wasn't sure the blue players understood the law correctly, which would not be fixed by issuing several yellow cards.
- The flow of the game did not feel disjointed despite the penalties.
- Being a junior game I might have engaged blue coach, but I felt that would be too disruptive and I felt was a step too far in an u15 Cup game.

How would you have managed this?
 

menace


Referees in Australia
Joined
Nov 20, 2009
Messages
3,657
Post Likes
633
Current Referee grade:
Level 2
I think you already know the answer to this.

You seem to think YC are punitive at juniors. I would suggest you change your mindset and think of YC as just another management tool to get a change in behaviour. Escalation through to YC if you've tried everything else. U15s are well enough versed in the basic principles and offside laws at ruck and maul. No better time for them to understand the principles of escalation and that they can't infringe with impunity.
 

didds

Resident Club Coach
Joined
Jan 27, 2004
Messages
12,148
Post Likes
1,839
well if they've not understood the explanations and requests im not sure how a YC will change that. you may well end up with several YCs if they really are not getting it instead of collectively choosing to ignore you.
 

menace


Referees in Australia
Joined
Nov 20, 2009
Messages
3,657
Post Likes
633
Current Referee grade:
Level 2
Id say they understood it...they just figured out that the ref was just going to PK it and it was worth the risk.

The coach could use the 10 mins to explain it to the kid with the YC!
 

Decorily

Coach/Referee
Joined
May 3, 2013
Messages
1,615
Post Likes
445
Current Referee grade:
Select Grade
I find it helps sometimes to approach the captain at half time and within earshot of other players and coaches explain what the problem is and let captain ( and coaches) know what changes are required.
It gives coaches a few minutes to try and change the players behaviour and it takes the pressure off you if you need to escalate in the 2nd half.
 

Phil E


Referees in England
Staff member
Joined
Jan 22, 2008
Messages
16,136
Post Likes
2,408
Current Referee grade:
Level 8
U15s know the offside law. I don't believe they didn't understand.

After two or three Penalties for offside I would be talking to the Captain about repeat offending by the team.

Next time I would be very vocal "Blue 7 step back, Blue 7 back foot". Then penalty and yellow card.

You penalised with no result.
You've explained to the Captain what you need from him.
You've tried preventative refereeing and been ignored.

You have now done everything you can and no one can complain about a YC.
I would probably follow it up with "Captain, if offside behaviour doesn't improve you may lose more players to the bin"
 

Dickie E


Referees in Australia
Joined
Jan 19, 2007
Messages
14,212
Post Likes
2,208
Current Referee grade:
Level 2
I've had similar but its usually one player who is new to rugby and is unfamiliar with offside. Usually gets fixed with a chorus of team mates: "George, you can't stand there!"

Just a thought. I wonder if your application of materiality has confused the kids. A player thinks he's standing in the same place as last time when he didn't get pinged
 

chbg


Referees in England
Joined
May 15, 2009
Messages
1,490
Solutions
1
Post Likes
450
Current Referee grade:
Level 7
Id say they understood it...they just figured out that the ref was just going to PK it and it was worth the risk.

The coach could use the 10 mins to explain it to the kid with the YC!
6 mins at U15 in RFU.
 

Stu10


Referees in England
Joined
Mar 10, 2020
Messages
883
Post Likes
478
Current Referee grade:
Level 15 - 11
I think you already know the answer to this.

You seem to think YC are punitive at juniors. I would suggest you change your mindset and think of YC as just another management tool to get a change in behaviour. Escalation through to YC if you've tried everything else. U15s are well enough versed in the basic principles and offside laws at ruck and maul. No better time for them to understand the principles of escalation and that they can't infringe with impunity.
U15s know the offside law. I don't believe they didn't understand.

After two or three Penalties for offside I would be talking to the Captain about repeat offending by the team.

Next time I would be very vocal "Blue 7 step back, Blue 7 back foot". Then penalty and yellow card.

You penalised with no result.
You've explained to the Captain what you need from him.
You've tried preventative refereeing and been ignored.

You have now done everything you can and no one can complain about a YC.

I would probably follow it up with "Captain, if offside behaviour doesn't improve you may lose more players to the bin"
I've had similar but its usually one player who is new to rugby and is unfamiliar with offside. Usually gets fixed with a chorus of team mates: "George, you can't stand there!"

Just a thought. I wonder if your application of materiality has confused the kids. A player thinks he's standing in the same place as last time when he didn't get pinged

Thanks for the input and I take it on board. I accept that I need to be more comfortable using the YC rather than perceiving it as a significant game changing intervention not to be used lightly. Honestly, I find it beneficial getting input from everyone here to reinforce and reassure good practice. I find these grey areas more challenging and recognise this is part of my learning curve.
 

SimonSmith


Referees in Australia
Staff member
Joined
Jan 27, 2004
Messages
9,397
Post Likes
1,511
If I were being harsh....

I suspect your first half screwed your game. They know where the offside line is - but you were ambiguous about how you were handling it.

There's an approach which is that refereeing youth is like walking a dog. Tight leash until you know it's behaving, then loosen up.

In your position I'd have had a very hard 10 minutes on the offside line, with close to zero tolerance. After that, I might be inclined to use materiality as a factor in terms of giving a PK or not. But until players know just where you're drawing the line, they'll keep poking. 15 is about the age where I started to referee them as functional rugby players and not kids running around after a ball.
 

Phil E


Referees in England
Staff member
Joined
Jan 22, 2008
Messages
16,136
Post Likes
2,408
Current Referee grade:
Level 8
Thanks for the input and I take it on board. I accept that I need to be more comfortable using the YC rather than perceiving it as a significant game changing intervention not to be used lightly.

This is something that all newish referees do, being reluctant to YC.

You have to remember that a YC is part of an escalation process. You tell people to stop doing something. If that doesn't work you PK them. If the PK's don't make them improve then the next step is a YC. By the time you get to the YC it shouldn't be a surprise and everyone in the crowd should be expecting it.

You can also demonstrate this to the crowd when you warn the captain about either 1 too many PK's is a short space of time, or 2 just too many PK's altogether. "Captain, we had not rolling away over there (give signal and point), offside over there (signal and point), another offside over there (signal and point), your team need to improve in this area or my decision may escalate".

To the crowd you have just pointed out 3 PK's and spoken to the captain. I guarantee if you give a YC at the next PK the crowd will be saying, well he just warned him didn't he, anyone could see that was coming.

However, if there behaviour does improve, be sure to recognise that as well. "Captain penalty count has improved, keep it up please".

This of course all goes out of the window for a cynical or deliberate offence that warrants a YC. What the soccer players would call a professional foul. i.e. only 2m back at a PK and then tackling the PK taker as soon as he taps. Just whip out the YC and say "deliberate and cynical, no choice". You can then explain to the Captain at the next dead ball if necessary.

In the top level you will often hear the referee say "he knows what he did" at a YC. This is the professional equivalent of the above.

Don't forget the YC is just another tool in your toolbox to help you get the players to play to the laws of the game. But when it comes it should be expected.
 

Stu10


Referees in England
Joined
Mar 10, 2020
Messages
883
Post Likes
478
Current Referee grade:
Level 15 - 11
If I were being harsh....

I suspect your first half screwed your game. They know where the offside line is - but you were ambiguous about how you were handling it.

There's an approach which is that refereeing youth is like walking a dog. Tight leash until you know it's behaving, then loosen up.

In your position I'd have had a very hard 10 minutes on the offside line, with close to zero tolerance. After that, I might be inclined to use materiality as a factor in terms of giving a PK or not. But until players know just where you're drawing the line, they'll keep poking.
15 is about the age where I started to referee them as functional rugby players and not kids running around after a ball.

I'm thinking this is good advice for youth and adult rugby.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SBP

Jarrod Burton


Referees in Australia
Joined
Jun 19, 2013
Messages
725
Post Likes
208
Current Referee grade:
Level 2
IMO YC aren't harsh for repeated infringements at youth levels, especially if you have explained what is happening and there is materiality in the ongoing infringements. You aren't the coach but you are expected to fairly apply the laws of the match - if one team choses to either ignore you or the coach is failing to teach their players what is expected, then it's not on you as the referee to give constant leniency, especially U15/U17/U19.

Failing to give YC is, as I see it, unfairly penalising the non-infringing team who should be expecting to play against a reduced number of players if their attacking structure is being consistently interrupted by illegal play.
 
Top