Tuesday’s Rugby News – 6/12/22

Tuesday’s Rugby News – 6/12/22

Greetings, G&GRs! Today’s article is from Moaning Expat – thanks, chum! Hoping for a few more pieces if at all possible. Email Sully ( if you’d like to join our burgeoning club of craparazzi!

That all said, I see you’ve written a referee piece, Moaning Expat. So, you have chosen…. DEATH! 😈😈

Kidding, kidding. The beauty of this site is that we all get on (even with the SDs and Hobbits), there’s not often name calling (Yowie excepted, of course) and you’re free to write what you like, so long as you can justify it in your mind (kinda like Hoss!). Then there’s the out and out crap spouted on Mondays (except for today, well done, KB!) so anything goes really. Further below, like today’s news, there’ll be links to anything that has popped up overnight.

Without further ado then, I present, Moaning Expat’s piece:

I was standing on the side-line of my 13 year old son’s game last weekend, he was playing hooker. Interestingly enough, he’d just been moved from playing outside centre. Hooker was the position I played at school after similarly being bandied around a bit while they found a place for someone as shithouse as me but who loved playing. (The coach probably thought I’d have my head knocked from my shoulders quick sticks and wouldn’t have to deal with me anymore, but I stayed alive, much to his disappointment)  Anyway, one of the other mothers whom I knew vaguely, sidled up to say hello and during the course of the game expressed a complete bewilderment of the laws or what exactly was going on. I then proceeded to give her a running commentary of the game and the basic laws.  It then occurred to me that even watching the second team U13s, some of the decisions were even incomprehensible to me. Not that they were wrong mind. just that I didn’t or couldn’t see what happened.

It was this that sparked an idea that later on I thought, by golly gosh, I know what everyone here will love, especially those guys with low blood pressure.  I’ll write an opinion piece on exactly this: a refereeing rules rant (RRR), written by someone who has never reffed before, spends half his time on G&GR talking shite and the other half asking fellow ranters if they had any idea “what that one was for?”. After about 45 years playing and watching the game (OK, OK mostly watching) I still feels has if they have a lot to learn. 

I also thought a refereeing piece from someone like me would also infuriate half the writers here (who are refs) and half the readers (the other half already having skipped to the comments at this point to see how badly iI’m getting torn apart) thereby causing lots of comments and my media engagement score would soar skyward faster than a thousand startled gazelles in a rainstorm. The advertising executives, whose idea of selling us something hinges on us seeing what Clint Eastwood and Tiger Woods ex-wife looks like now (she’s still hot in my opinion), would be as pleased as punch. My life will be worth less than a truckload of dead rats in a tampon factory if I ever stepped foot in a G&GR beer-up but you’ve got to take the good with the bad. Especially if KARL was in a bad mood.

There are many criticisms of referees, their processes, judgements and decisions, some justified, most not. I don’t have to say what a shit, thankless job it is- we all know that. I for one would have to be paid more than they are (*CM edit – we get paid?!?!) to do it. A lot more.  The diarrhoea diatribe I’m putting out here is because I haven’t seen too many articles from anyone (some but not many) that seek to dive a bit deeper and none from a civilian- that I’ve seen anyway.  I’ve seen some rants here just recently regarding the ‘power’ of the Ref being taken off them by TMOs etc. I personally haven’t seen this much at all – just a fluctuating influence. Some days you can’t shut the TMO up and others they remain in the background – mostly.  I’ve seen comments and even personally commented on certain refs ‘bias’ for certain teams. What I seek to do here is take a few steps to understanding decision making and the potential changes that I’d suggest that would make this easier. 

We could do this with coaches as well (‘why did you take him off then??’ ‘Why did you pick THAT guy??’) but you don’t have 2 weeks or enough medical insurance do you dear reader? 

I’ve met a few international rugby players and coaches in my time and had the pleasure of speaking to some of them (my pleasure of course, I’m sure not theirs) but never have I asked “what do you think of that referee?” or any other referee-based question.  However, the most interested I’ve been in anyone else’s name dropping is a few years ago when I was having lunch with a client (a regional CEO of a big bank) who made an offhand comment (he’s a nice bloke actually) that he sat next to a high-profile ref in business class who had just finished his Oz tour and was writing out his match report on the flight home.  Now, what surprised me right then is that I realised, if you asked me who would I rather hear gossip or something at all (FFS sake anything at all) from, would I chose a big player, big coach or big referee.  I’d choose the latter.  Why?  Because they are a mystery to us all.  No offence Charlie and KARL. Well, to me anyway. I leaned across the table to my client, and I said I wanted to know anything, everything that was said at all.  What did they say? What secrets did they divulge to you after you had handed him his 8th mini vodka? Who’s a complete Crunt misunderstood? Does the big boss upstairs tell you who to award the win to, just like they do in the soccer World Cup?  Is this what all you refs look like when they all get together for their Christmas party?  Tell me, tell me, tell me!

 I didn’t get much at all.  And therein lies the problem. We don’t know much (swap ‘we’ for I for anyone that does). Why is it that we don’t? Is it because this would undermine the referee/ing in question?   Would the players make snide comments on the field to Jaco, Angus or Nigel, “heard you got a bollocking last week eh?”  Would it undermine the game and potential result ? Legal action!?  I’m not sure.

 What I would like is more knowledge about what goes on. Yes yes, we do get snippets here and there but it would actually be nice to get maybe even a few years later a release of information.  What decision was wrong, what was right. What was actually said to Raynal in his meeting with the boss about THAT decision?

In the same regard from coaches. It really does help. DR explained his reasoning to us all regarding Hodges entry in the last 5 minutes of the Italy game – and it made sense.  Nothing about Donaldson in the last 4 minutes in the Ireland game though.  He talked about Marky Mark too for the first time.  Many on the G&GR chat had a justifiable rant about why he wasn’t picked previously or why hadn’t they seen him before etc.  DR spoke about this yesterday.   What I’m saying here is the more information we have as, let’s face it, the buyers of this product , the happier we are.  Even if we don’t agree with the reasons.

 But we have the coaches on one side who pretty much say nothing and have been taught to speak to the media to say a lot of words that mean nothing and World Rugby on the other who just say nothing.

The major pain point is consistency, not mistakes.  Many times we’ve seen identical actions but the penalties and cheese given out to them differ, sometimes quite significantly. We see the process gone though by a ref, two sidekicks and a TMO.  And then resulting in two different decisions on two different days.  What about an explanation from WR after something like this happens and explain it to us. Or say ‘it’s regrettable’ OR ‘we fucked up”  OR “Fred’s getting a  slapping tonight’ OR “there goes Mario’s Xmas bonus”, but what we get is crickets.

Has anyone ever thought about consistent refereeing partnerships in this regard then?  We talk about game time together, combinations of 9 and 10.  1, 2 and 3 but refs come on with different set ups each time. And if it’s a nationality issue then rotate through your 4. I know for a fact that the TMO doesn’t have to be a different nationality from the playing teams. One of the worst things I’ve ever seen was about 7-10 years ago was a TMO making a decision on a try, yes or no. The TMO was a Kiwi who was TMOing (if that’s a word) on a Wobs Nearlies game.  His decision (or confirmation) was the correct one- but the camera flicked to his chair and he was caught making an arm pumping ‘you beauty’ action with a massive smile on his face while he spoke into the mike. The camera quickly flicked away. I never heard a word about it. I wonder if anyone on here remembers it. But it did leave a sick feeling in my stomach. It was then that I really questioned bias in the game.

The major takeaway is accountability and transparency.  Now the problem with this is that there is potential for the game and the authority to be undermined. But it’s being undermined now by a lack of transparency and consistency.  I personally think that there’s only so much you can do in terms of this.  A referee is never going to be perfect- its part of the game. But for all those people that said Raynal’s decision was the right one. It wasn’t. Why? Because it had never been done before but the offence is common and consistent throughout the game. If we have a game that relies on a referee point of view than we must insist this sort of shit doesn’t happen. Raynal made a decision out of personal animosity to Foley. He had the shits with him it’s pretty clear. My point is a referee must make a dozen decisions and decide what’s right or wrong every minute, from his point of view. Every one of those decisions can be interpreted different ways and half a dozen other offences are let go to keep the game moving. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. You can’t say I’m the ref and I see it this way and I need the leeway to use my judgement ( fair enough, good actually) and then turn around and ping something which is clearly not in the spirit, run or nature of the game. For the first time ever.

Why did we have WR come out of the blue and tell the world Craig Joubert was wrong?  WTF? And then say virtually nothing about any other decision, big or small since. I’m still waiting for an explanation of that.  There’s that word again. Not why Joubert was wrong, but why they decided to throw a decent ref under the bus and not say a word about anyone else’s mistakes.

Educate us, WR.  We want to know why that was decided. We want to know you’re thinking. And yes, we feel a lot better if you admit your guy got it wrong. Much better. And when in 95% of the time you get it right try and make your signals clearer, it’s so much easier to explain to my son what that player did that was wrong.

Perhaps at the end of every year they could make a list of the howlers and tell us all how they intend to do better or why it was done or simply, “yeah we fuqed up- sorry”. It’d be nice, wouldn’t it? I’m speaking of professional refs btw. Low paid Amateurs and volunteers have no duty, in my book, to say fuck all.

I wonder if there’s a freedom of information act out there for WR. I’ll get my lawyer on to it.

Quick Sticks.

Nearlies looking like they’ll miss Razor for the second time in a year with the international coaching merry-go-round wreaking havoc on teams! Article here

Sbu Nkosi has gone missing in the DDF Republic. We at G&GR hope he’s found safe and well.

Super Rugby Pacific bosses are looking to speed up the game. As KARL has said many times before, we don’t need new or artificial laws to be implemented; we only have to enforce whatever is already in the law book. We don’t need this silly water breaks or mungo ball experiments. It’s a fuqing blight on the game when the English competition is the front runner for positive rugby! That said, we have to be extra careful not to shoot ourselves in the foot to spite our faces in terms of laws. We’re <12 months from a Bill. Let’s not throw Yowie out with the bath water.

The Nation’s Arsehole capital, with Mr Senator Poey leading the charge, is having the indoor stadium concept revived, again. Now, as a former Canberran, some of my coldest nights have been spent at Bruce Stadium. It’s truly a dreadful place to watch, well, anything. So a shiny new indoor stadium is well overdue. Here’s hoping it gets off the ground (though I’m not holding my breath).

Happy Tuesday, folks. Thanks again to Moaning Expat!


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