Friday’s Ramblings

Friday’s Ramblings

Not the Hoss starting this year. Thought I’d also add a Referee Corner piece so see how it goes.

NZ Assigns Referees to Super Teams

A referee has been assigned to each of the five NZ franchises this year and will train alongside the team. The referee assigned to the team will not officiate any of the games they play and are there to provide expert advice on the law as part of the team training.

Blues coach Leon MacDonald hailed it “a great initiative” and believes it will benefit the teams going forward. He further went on to say “Those referees have it difficult. They train by themselves, all their running, their fitness, their reviews, are all done at home by themselves”. He’ll (now) get into the middle of our training and he can look at pictures and review them like we do as players and coaches.

The breakdown of the referee to teams are; Brendon Pickering joining the Blues, Mike Fraser the Chiefs, Ben O’Keefe the Hurricanes, Paul Williams the Crusaders and James Coleman the Highlanders.

Personally I think this is a great idea and will assist both the referee and the players. The referee can prepare for the game in a good environment and I’m pretty sure there’ll be some “honest” feedback to the referees about what happened during the week.

Referee Corner – Why refereeing can look inconsistent when it isn’t

Note: These are purely my thoughts and not anything official from RA or NSW Rugby Referees.

I hear and read a lot of comments about how supporters would like to see more consistency from referees both during a game and between different referees in different matches. Personally I think the first one is easier than the second but both are more of a perception than an actual inconsistency and a lot of it comes from the lack of knowledge on the punter on both the laws and how they are applied.

Rugby has a lot of laws. 21 seperate sections and, in the case of scrums for example, 39 seperate sub-sections some of which have 5 or more actual parts to them. It’s not really surprising that most players and spectators don’t know them all or even most of them.

At any one time during a match, even with the ball travelling in the air after a kick, there are probably 5 to 7 laws that could apply. Now if a referee was to apply those laws and call up every incident then the game would be very stop/start and in the words of Vivian “Very, very boring”

To get around this referees apply the law in two ways. One is the technical aspect of the law. What the law actually says and what happens.

For example the ball is in a ruck (26 seperate laws) and the No 7 is in front of the last foot of his side (law 15, 6) and not fully attached (law 15,7). Looking over the ruck, a defender has fallen off his feet (Law 15, 12). Another defender rolled out of the ruck, got up and joined it from where he was standing (Law 15, 6 & 9). The halfback trying to get the ball pretends to pass it before he has it (Law 15, 16,g). A player bound to the ruck, sees the ball is stuck and so puts his hands in to free it up and pass it back along the ground (Law 15,11). In addition the defending team 12 has pushed forward and is now level with the middle of the ruck (Law 16,4). So

Technically all of the above are against the laws of the game and so the referee needs to decide which ones he pulls up. If he/she was purely technical then the first one they saw would get picked and the whistle would be blown.

The second aspect is the tactical application of the law. This means applying those laws that have a materiel impact on the game. This means that some laws that are obvious are not applied. For example (again) If the 7 interferes with the 9 clearing the ball then he/she would be called for their transgression. If, however the ball comes out the other side and the 7 being off side does not interfere with the play then the referee will ignore it (perhaps having a quiet word at the next line out or scrum to stay back further at future rucks)

The trouble with this is spectators and especially commentators will see a player off side and sometimes getting called up and sometimes not and so makes a big fuss about the inconsistency of the referee.

Applying the laws tactically will often look inconsistent but it needs to be done to allow the game to continue. Next time you hear a call of inconsistent against a referee please have a think about why.

Angus Scott-Young Impressed with his time playing in the Mitre Cup in New Zealand

Angus Scott-Young showing some claret

After missing selection for the Wallabies Squad despite a strong season, the 24 year old took the chance to develop his game in the New Zealand competition during the off-season, joining a squad full of Chiefs players. “It was an incredible experience and I’m really grateful for the Reds and Bay of Plenty for making that happen” He told reporters.

Scott-Young went to Mt Maunganui and played for the bay of Plenty Steamers for four months. He relished the opportunity to train alongside current AB captain Sam Cane who was recovering from a pectoral injury. “I learnt a lot from guys like Sam Cane who I was training with every day……….. learning from him was incredible” he said.

He enjoyed the culture and the way the NZ teams build connections within the community, something he’d like to bring back to the Reds.

I’ve always liked ASY and I hope he has developed further during his time in NZ. Certainly would have been better for him than playing club rugby in QLD or worse having nothing to do but train. I guess as the season develops we’ll get to see if he has improved or not.

Singing in the Swain: Lock competition driving Wallaby on Brumbies return

Swain and the Wallaby contingent have made their return to training ahead of Super Rugby Pacific, with their first trial against the Waratahs slated for Jan 29 in Bowral.

Swain enters 2022 as the hunted within the Brumbies second row with young guns Nick Frost and Tom Hooper looking to usurp him and Caderyn Neville. This is a stark contrast to even just 4 years ago when Swain was battling helices of Rory Arnold, Sam Carter and Blake Enever for game time.

“It’s going to be very competitive. Hoops is looking lean and the other boys are looking big and strong so it’s going to be a challenge” he believes.

The 24 year old was happy to reflect on his breakout year which led him to be a mainstay in the Wallabies side during the French series and the Rugby Championship, however he refuses to be complacent. “It’s nice to reflect on the year that’s gone but it’s all about trying to go one better” he says as he looks to cement himself in the national team under Dave Rennie.

Australian stocks in lock are pretty good at the moment, especially if they can continue to call on Rory Arnold. For me it’s about making sure that they have a good balance and ensure they pick the players who add more than just pushing in a scrum or jumping well in a line out. However, I’m also a believer in core skills “meat and potato before gravy” as Nutta says and if they can’t do the core role well then I think they should, look elsewhere.


Emigrated to Australia a few years ago. I have spent 41 years in the NZ Army and worked with the Australian Defence Force almost every year. I am a huge believer in ANZAC and support the Wallabies against everyone except the All Blacks. Still refereeing today and love the game

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