Memo and Clampdown on grasping the head

Crucial

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About time.. (from SA Referees)

World Rugby, formerly the IRB, has sent out a memorandum intended to reach all levels of rugby on dangerous tackles.


The authors of the memorandum are Joël Jutge, World Rugby's high performance match officials manager and Tim Gresson, World Rugby's judicial panel chairman.


It is clearly an important document intended for the special attention of those involved in disciplinary action in the various unions in the rugby world, all referees and clubs.


The memorandum, which is to come into immediate effect, is concerned with playing an opponent around the neck and head.


The Memorandum


Subject: (I) Dangerous Tackles (High Tackles) And
(Ii) Dangerous Grasping of Neck and/or Head Area of Player Not In Possession of the Ball, and
(Ii) Dangerous Grasping / Holding of Ball-Carrier Above The Line Of The Shoulders


NOTE: This memorandum replaces the memorandum of 4 August 2011 with immediate effect relating to dangerous tackles (high tackles) and dangerous grasping of the neck and/or head area of players not in possession of the ball


This is a replacement memorandum in relation to Dangerous Tackles and the illegal taking out of players who are not in possession of the ball.


Law 10.4 (e) in relation to Dangerous Tackles provides as follows:


A player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously.


A player must not tackle (or try to tackle) an opponent above the line of the shoulders even if the tackle starts below the line of the shoulders. A tackle around the opponent’s neck or head is dangerous play.


A ‘stiff-arm tackle’ is dangerous play. A player makes a stiff-arm tackle when using a stiff-arm to strike an opponent.
Playing a player without the ball is dangerous play.


A player must not tackle an opponent whose feet are off the ground.


High Tackles


At an IRB Medical Seminar held in November 2010 at Lensbury the results of studies by the Rugby Football Union and New Zealand Rugby Football Union concluded that most injuries in Rugby in the elite Game were occurring as a result of high tackles. The participants generally recognised that tackles above the line of the shoulders had the potential to cause serious injury and noted that a trend had emerged whereby players responsible for such tackles were not being adequately sanctioned.


Dangerous Grasping


A further pattern of offending was identified in the Game (Memoranda 4 August 2011) whereby players not in possession of the ball were being grasped and/or grabbed by an opponent in and around the neck and/or head area, principally in an effort to clear out players from the breakdown. While such behaviour does not come under the definition of a tackle, as no ball-carrier is involved, nevertheless it is dangerous play and foul play under Law 10.4 (e) and/or Law 10.4 (f) (playing an opponent without the ball) which must be sanctioned.


The purpose of this Memorandum is to emphasise that as with tip tackles, (see Memorandum of 8 June 2009) this type of dangerous play which is foul play must be dealt with severely by match officials and all those involved in the off-field disciplinary process. As with other types of foul play, depending on the circumstances of the high tackle or the illegal and dangerous taking out of players not in possession of the ball, the range of sanctions can extend from a penalty kick to the player receiving a red card.


A high tackle to the head and/or neck area of an opponent (in particular involving a ‘stiff arm’ or swinging arm), bears all the hallmarks of an action which should result in a yellow card or a red card being seriously considered.


The grasping and twisting of the neck and/or head area of a player to effect either a tackle or to clear out a player not in possession of the ball should also be regarded as constituting serious foul play and match officials and all those involved in the off-field disciplinary process have a responsibility to ensure that the appropriate action is taken by them.


Tackling Ball-Carriers around the neck / head areas


A trend has recently emerged whereby player(s) tackle (or try to tackle) the ball-carrier around and/or above the line of the shoulders in an effort to
(i) keep the opponent up off the ground and force a turnover or (ii) to encourage the opponent to release the ball by “strangling” him around the neck. In these types of tackle there may be more than one tackler and a maul may rapidly form around the ball-carrier.


A further purpose of this revised Memorandum is to emphasise that as with other types of dangerous tackle and dangerous grasping of the neck and/or head area, where a player tackles (or tries to tackle) the ball-carrier above the line of the shoulders, this is foul play under Law 10.4 (e) and must be dealt with severely by match officials and all those involved in the off-field disciplinary process in order to protect player welfare. As with other types of foul play described in this Memorandum, depending on the circumstances of the high tackle, the range of on-field sanctions can extend from a penalty kick to the player receiving a red card.


Basis of Decisions


Referees and Citing Commissioners should not make their decisions based on what they consider was the intention of the offending player nor should they have regard to whether the "first" contact was below the line of the ball-carrier's shoulders. Their decisions should be based on an objective assessment (as per Law 10.4 (e) and Law 10.4 (f)) of the overall circumstances of the tackle or the clear out in each case.


Each of the types of foul play referred to above:
* High Tackles
* Dangerous Grasping
* Tackling ball-carrier around the Neck/Head Area
constitute patterns of offending in the Game for which there exists a need for a deterrent in sanctioning.


Joël Jutge
Tim Gresson
 

Crucial

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Now the only issue I have here is that if I was a ref that gives me no clear direction or examples from which to work off to decide the level of sanction. What level of seriousness constitutes a penalty/YC/RC?
If you think of this logically, if you are reffing and see a player being held in a headlock as a maul forms and you see danger of collapsing and injury, you are obliged to try and stop the situation before the risk escalates. That would mean that as it is only a 'possible danger' you would just issue out a penalty and a warning. I have no idea what would have to happen before a YC or RC because unlike a tip tackle the situation develops and isn't instant.
In other words if a player has grasped another player in a headlock how do you judge seriousness? One headlock is the same as another until injury occurs.
 

Ian_Cook


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So, they identified at Lensbury in 2010 that this was a growing problem and then they have waited FIVE YEARS until it has become endemic before they have done something about it!!!!

:Looser:
yahoohairpull.gif
:norc:
 

crossref


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So, they identified at Lensbury in 2010 that this was a growing problem and then they have waited FIVE YEARS until it has become endemic before they have done something about it!!!!

:Looser:
yahoohairpull.gif
:norc:

No, they issued a memo about it at the time - 4 August 2011, which is referenced and replaced by this 2015 memo.

The 2011 memo is here http://laws.worldrugby.org/index.php?domain=9
 

crossref


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It's interesting that this 2015 memo mentions the 2009 Tip-Tackle memo. On the WorldRugby website all references to the 2009 memo have been removed, I will be interested to see this reference is still in the text when the 2015 memo appears on worldrugby website.

QU: has anyone received this 2015 memo via their normal cascades yet? Or is SA Referees the only place to have published it? If you havre seen it already, was the text the same?
 

The Fat


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Now the only issue I have here is that if I was a ref that gives me no clear direction or examples from which to work off to decide the level of sanction. What level of seriousness constitutes a penalty/YC/RC?
If you think of this logically, if you are reffing and see a player being held in a headlock as a maul forms and you see danger of collapsing and injury, you are obliged to try and stop the situation before the risk escalates. That would mean that as it is only a 'possible danger' you would just issue out a penalty and a warning. I have no idea what would have to happen before a YC or RC because unlike a tip tackle the situation develops and isn't instant.
In other words if a player has grasped another player in a headlock how do you judge seriousness? One headlock is the same as another until injury occurs.

Following on from this, a common occurrence is the defender in the middle of the maul attempting to pull the head from the original ball carrier's neck. Currently, but not often enough for my liking, we hear the odd referee tell the "grasper" to leave the head area alone. In other words, we manage it. Is the intention of the new memo such that in order to take a stance against such behaviour we should immediately PK the offender?

As you rightly say, "Now the only issue I have here is that if I was a ref that gives me no clear direction or examples from which to work off to decide the level of sanction. What level of seriousness constitutes a penalty/YC/RC?"
 

menace


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Not only the maul, but IMO this
The grasping and twisting of the neck and/or head area of a player to effect either a tackle or to clear out a player not in possession of the ball should also be regarded as constituting serious foul play and match officials and all those involved in the off-field disciplinary process have a responsibility to ensure that the appropriate action is taken by them.
is directly aimed at the crocodile/saddle roll.
 

menace


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Really? Where?

Here, I'm guessing?

The purpose of this Memorandum is to emphasise that as with tip tackles, (see Memorandum of 8 June 2009) this type of dangerous play which is foul play must be dealt with severely by match officials and all those involved in the off-field disciplinary proces
 

crossref


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Really? Where?

the 2015 memo says

The purpose of this Memorandum is to emphasise that as with tip tackles, (see Memorandum of 8 June 2009) ..

which is interesting (to me anyway!), because no reference to the 2009 memo remains on the WorldRugby website.

One would expect to see the 2009 memo here http://laws.worldrugby.org/index.php?domain=9. I imagine that before too long the 2015 memo will be here, and the 2011 memo which it replaces to be removed. Perhaps when they update the page, the 2009 memo will make a comeback.
 

Ian_Cook


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Crossref

OK. For some reason, I got impression that you were saying it replaces the 2009 memorandum

However this might partially answer Crucial's question in post 2. If we follow the logic of the tip tackle memorandum - start at red and work down - a player grasping an opponent around the head/neck and twisting him away is a red card offence. There is precedent. Michael Rhodes got six weeks for this...


There was no TMO foul play review back then, but the same infringement now would surely get a RC
 

Crucial

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"Start at red and work down'. OK

So in what circumstances do you mitigate down from a red?

I'm not being pedantic here, I am genuinely trying to understand how you are expected to apply this clampdown, because there are no instructions as to what severity of the act warrants what sanction.

In Ian's example, yes RC, no problem. But what would make that a YC?

I find this quite a good insight into the non workings of WR when it comes to refereeing. A memo is issued which is written more for the press than the people that have to follow it. The first most refs hear of it is via social media, and even then there is debate as what it actually means.

In most other professional organisations, those affected by changes aren't expected to just be aware of them as a normal course of business. Change is applied with an implementation and communication plan targeted to those most affected. A target of consistency will never ever be viable in the manner WR operate.

As an analogy, let's say McDonalds has identified a problem in that they use far more 'special sauce' than they should for the number of Big Macs sold'. If WR were in charge they would issue a memorandum only to the regional managers saying 'We have identified this problem and expect you to fix it. Tools available to you range from sackings to reduction of work hours to verbal warnings'. The employees would hear about this memo in many different ways and the messages given would all be different. Some would think that if they over squirted the sauce they would be sacked, some would be told that if found stealing the sauce they would be sacked.
You get the point, I'm sure.

It's just piss poor management.
 

crossref


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in defence of world rugby (cough), the memo doesn't seem to be official yet -- perhaps when it is actually published there will also be gudiance and videos etc etc
 

Crucial

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in defence of world rugby (cough), the memo doesn't seem to be official yet -- perhaps when it is actually published there will also be gudiance and videos etc etc

Given that most memos disappear even off their own website and can only be found through thorough googling, forgive my cynicism ;)
 

crossref


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out of interest - anyone seen /received this yet formally by any channel other than SA referees ?
 

Browner

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Given that 'most' Neck Contact is now treated "seriously", perhaps inclusion of some PMB warning would help get this message filtered down quickly.

Suggestions?????


PS.... Will be interesting to see how the Memo affects the early rounds of RWC 2015 , some squads might need increasing to 60!!
 

crossref


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PS.... Will be interesting to see how the Memo affects the early rounds of RWC 2015 , some squads might need increasing to 60!!

I hope they will give the memo to the press and TV commentators -- most of whom seem to have missed the 2009 memo completely and been taken completely by surprise when Alain Rolland dutifully followed it in RWC 2011
 

Browner

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I hope they will give the memo to the press and TV commentators -- most of whom seem to have missed the 2009 memo completely and been taken completely by surprise when Alain Rolland dutifully followed it in RWC 2011

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