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Dimitri Yachvili forgets he's playing rugby, backheels pass for Erik Lund try

Don't get carried away folks. The fact that he struck the ball with his heel here is meaningless. Because the ball was on the ground from the charge-down, the heel is not a kick but not a knock-on but in fact just the same as if he'd slid to gather it and had it bounce off his chest: play on with no offsides.

Of course, it's all elementary because as was pointed out, Yachvili was offside following the charge-down.

That being said, I'm not sure how the ref would proceed in a case where a player deliberately struck the ball with his heel out-of-hand, and it went forward. If it goes backwards it's play on (as if the ball was merely dropped backwards) but I don't think having it go forward off the heel has ever happened anywhere but a backyard.

Anyone feel like getting their national Union to submit a rule clarification to the IRB? Hehe!

3 Years, 6 Months ago

Ilai Tinai suspended for five weeks for dangerous tackle against Wales

I think some of the ban length has to do with the number of games missed/impact to the team. In 7s, missing one week means missing at least 4 games whereas in 15s, it's only one.

In addition, I'm going to assume you're referring the the Parisse incident? That is technically a citing for abuse of a match official, which is a very serious offence in most sports (except soccer/football, apparently!). While in my estimation, swearing at a ref is toward the low end of that scale, it's still abuse of an official.

3 Years, 6 Months ago

Ilai Tinai suspended for five weeks for dangerous tackle against Wales

I think we can all agree...that should have been a red card. I personally believe Tinai was surprised a bit by the Welsh player's speed and momentum which caused the rotation. It should still be a red card. Everyone watching that knows it.

Come on, IRB. It shouldn't be that hard to get consistency for the obvious ones!

3 Years, 6 Months ago

French referee horrifically breaks leg, collarbone, and sprains ankle

Just to piggy-back on the point HowardTheDuck made, we are seeing more scrum-halves using that space but I don't think that we can effectively prevent it with a rule. What you will start seeing is more and more referees staying further from the breakdown in a safer position.

Speaking as a referee, I know that the safest position generally speaking is what we call "chariot position" - directly behind the ruck, about 3-5 meters behind the halfback. I also know that your ability to accurately referee the breakdown and offsides from that position is pretty limited.

If more referees start standing further off the breakdown, it will get messier. At what point do you balance the potential for harm to the referees against the quality of the game? I think ultimately, referees should continue to position themselves close to the breakdown, but that players should have a duty of care to the referee. After all, the referee is responsible for promoting player safety...that should run both ways.

Long story short - players should avoid running into/around the referee as best they can because it's in the SPIRIT OF THE GAME, not necessarily because someone made a law about it.

All the best and a quick recovery, M. heart goes out to you!

3 Years, 7 Months ago

Midweek Madness - Rob Cook's bizarre goal kicking technique

You think that's bizarre? Have a look at Jamie Soward, from the NRL.

Cook is tame by comparison, but both remind me of Monty Python's Ministry of Silly Walks sketch...

3 Years, 7 Months ago

The Dimitri Yachvili stamp on Racing Metro's Henry Chavancy

I'm not sure Chavancy did anything wrong. Once the initial tackle was made he came through the gate, stayed on his feet and got his hands on the ball before the ruck was formed. The tackled player was holding on, then the ruck formed and quickly turned into a pile of bodies. There was no way that Chavancy could have gotten out, and in fact Biarritz should have been penalized for not releasing the ball.

After all that, Yachvili comes in and does his best Fred Astaire impression on Chavancy's leg which wasn't really preventing the ball from coming out. Foul play indeed! Yachvili should know better, and he deserves to sit for a long time.

3 Years, 7 Months ago

Is Carlin Isles the world's fastest rugby player?

To all the nay-sayers: Isles is an excellent option to have on the paddock for a sevens team. Speed kills.

His size isn't really an issue; there are 6 bigger guys on the field for the US...use him as a sweeper at the back on defence, and the gas-man on the wing on attack.

To those of you that are lamenting the death of skill in sevens: it takes skill to fix guys enough to get the ball out there; also, the game will evolve new defensive systems to deal with this kind of threat.

To those of you worried about how quickly he got into the team: he fits. The team made a selection, and he's scoring tries (and from this clip, it looks like he stopped on too). A national team should be about having the best players on the pitch, not "earning your stripes" through some convoluted seniority/experience matrix...if he is the best wide man in sevens, get him on the pitch.

To the rest of the world: watch out for the USA in a few year's time...if this is what they can come up with in 12 weeks, you'd better believe there is more coming. Gotta hand it to the States, when they want to win, they don't muck about.

The sport is gaining profile, and as such more and more naturally gifted athletes will take it up. Like any other sport, as it increases in profile globally, you're going to get more and more naturally gifted athletes learning the game. How scary would it be facing a team of Usain Bolts who had learned the game? The giant, fast, fit guys are coming, and they will learn skills.

I'm stoked for Rio! We might see some mind-boggling and exciting athletes take the field. I only hope that my country (Canada) is able to keep pace with the growth of the game (so far, so good).

3 Years, 10 Months ago

Hooker Dylan Hartley cited for striking Ulster's Rory Best

Anyone else notice the excellent work by John Afoa? He comes in, gets Hartley off his mate, then runs off to join the play. I reckon things would have escalated if it weren't for Afoa's timely and well-executed intervention. Quality bloke.

3 Years, 10 Months ago

Cardiff Blues' Lloyd Williams red carded for alleged dangerous tackle

On a side note, this whole citing vs. refereeing debate is one that I haven't run into as a rugby referee yet, but as an ice hockey referee I had a couple of run-ins with the citing/hearings system that I felt undermined the authority of referees. In both cases, myself and my two colleagues that were handling the games in question noticed that our officiating suffered for a good period of time after having our decisions overruled, or a token 1-game suspension being handed down.

There seemed to be two sides to it: first, you were careful not to make big calls, instead handing out smaller penalties because you didn't want to get dragged into another useless hearing. This had the effect of making it difficult to manage games properly, as everyone knew it should have been a tougher call. Second, borderline offences would get called more often, and we were jumpy on the whistle, because no matter how much you try to be consistent and professional, you are worried about getting into a situation where you might have to make a big call again.

I wonder if we're seeing a similar effect here: the higher-level referees seem to be suffering from the "I don't want to be the next Alain Rolland" syndrome, while the lower-level referees seem to have a case of the "If I go big here, I'll look tough on 'crime' and it'll bode well for later".


3 Years, 10 Months ago

Cardiff Blues' Lloyd Williams red carded for alleged dangerous tackle

Interesting discussion so far...I'll give my opinion first, then bring up a larger discussion point...

My opinion: the referee did well. According to the letter of the law, it was definitely penalizeable: there was no control and no-one can honestly argue that the tackled player was brought to ground safely. A centimetre or two in a different direction and we could be dealing with a broken neck. I've actually seen it in person: a player landing on their shoulder and head, and the game was called off and they were sent to hospital for surgery. Two years later he was able to go back to work part-time and was lucky to still have full motion in his limbs. It's not something to be toyed with.

The topic for discussion: do you think there would be as much outrage/controversy/whining, etc. if the citing commision got things right? For example, in this case the red should be ample punishment. There was no malice, just dangerous recklessness. I'm sure the player has learned his lesson. That would leave citings for bigger issues, and for things that were missed in the game (ie: A. Hore's flying elbow).

I think that the "justice system" at the IRB has gotten all out of whack. A card is a significant punishment, and unless it's an extreme case of violence/something that can't be dealt with within the laws of the game, there should be no citing!

3 Years, 10 Months ago