Monday 19 September 2011

Rain, Shine and telling the Time

A great way to kick off on the right foot with your referee is to tell him kick off is at 2pm and tell everyone else it is at 3pm.
Last Saturday was the second game of the season and the second last minute appointment. The home side where a mixed social team and so were the visitors but the average age between the two was about 10 years. The youngsters choose to kick-off and used the slope to finish the game off in the first half. They clearly were able and willing to play the game at pace which caused a couple of questions when they took quick penalties. I am willing to take a sympathetic approach to back-10m with older sides, so long as players keep out of the way. However, standing still or moving in to make a tackle are getting the opposition a second go. The next point is that there is no Law covering a second quick penalty, this falls under Myths of the Game. It is a game management tactic, no penalty can be taken until the referee has given the mark, I won't give the second mark quickly because a succession of tap penalties become very messy and confusing for all involved. Order and not chaos is what make a great game and ensure that all get my full attention. 
One of the lesser used Laws is 11.4 OFFSIDE UNDER THE 10-METRE LAW; Red 10 fields a kick and hoists an up and under, instead of going 30-40m upfield, it goes up and down. Black 12 fields it 5m forward but every player around him is off-side and can't tackle him. 
The scrummage was tricky all afternoon, there was an early penalty for not driving straight, but Black were complaining about Red not taking the hit when I penalised them for driving early. This was a tough one to spot, something the Black prop gave me tips on in the bar later; its all in the foot work. A new prop in the second half caused me huge problems, he simply refused to bind. He started on the tight head and after a reset conceded a penalty then moved to the loose head where the same thing occurred. At this level, I am going to coach and re-set first, make it clear what I want and then penalise. I'm comfortable that was the correct course as the prop in question was returning after many years out. He got the message in the end but for safety's sake penalising someone without correcting their technique isn't going to benefit them. On Saturday in a level 10 league game it will be straight to penalties and potentially a card if he fails to comply.
After avoiding any rain all last season, the weather managed pay-back but despite that, it managed to be a great afternoon of rugby, open, clean and with a great spirit, which fits in with my philosophy.

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