Thursday, August 05, 2010
The Tri Nations refereeing debate has raged on for the past few weeks and just when we thought it couldnt really get any worse, we got to see what is - to my knowledge - the first ever red card for two yellows in a Test match. Things are getting soft, fast, and the boys at the Rugby Club in Australia are fed up, as are many around the world.
Things reached an all time low this weekend as a few decisions, in both the Tri Nations and ITM Cup, were incredibly weak and made some question if rugby is a contact sport after all.
While were all about making the game safe and avoiding big injuries, if a guy is tackled and his legs happen to go above the horizontal, that doesnt necessarily mean its a dangerous tackle. This is the problem. Sure, if you dump a player on his head, you deserve to be penalised, carded, and perhaps suspended. Anything less than that though, and were not only diluting the game of its physicality, but causing mass uncertainty at the same time.
By trying to protect our great sport from having its name tarnished with life threatening injuries, the powers that be are actually changing the game to such an extent that club players, school players, and even professional players, dont really know where they stand anymore.
When hitting, and lifting in a tackle, you're meant to bring the guy down safely, but then youre also told to not drive him into the ground. This isnt synchronised swimming. Balance, speed, and power all come into the equation and unfortunately at times its not pretty, and while there can be no malice whatsoever, a guys legs can be lifted above the horizontal, causing the refs and assistant refs who these days are getting way too involved for my liking to start waving their flags and blowing their whistles.
A precedent has been set and while remaining consistent is important as we saw with the officials being consistently harsh this past weekend the worry is that this Tri Nations, and indeed the ITM Cup and Currie Cup seasons, will continue to disappoint and dismay the viewers out there as players are going to be sent to the naughty corner for offences that have been a part of the game for as long as its existed.
Yes, no arms in the tackle needs to be penalised, as this is Union, not League. But the over-policing of these tip tackles and the general feeling that the referees are trigger happy with whats in their pocket needs to change, for the good of rugby.
This video is a bit more light hearted, but also illustrates the feeling that while refs are trying to stamp their authority, things are getting a little out of control. We also get to see a bit of Tana Umaga in action, some of the tries of the week, and a few other great hits. Enjoy.
Tana Umaga and Counties upset Otago in the opening game
The build up to the Drew Mitchell red card
All Blacks on fire as they beat the Wallabies in Melbourne