Monday Nov 10, 2014 Referee decisions in spotlight as New Zealand prove too good for England

Referee decisions in spotlight as New Zealand prove too good for England
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New Zealand coach Steve Hansen believes that England’s new approach is what made them so competitive during the All Blacks’ 24-21 win on Saturday. He also said that TV producers are favouring the home sides when it comes to the big screen replays.

Despite a late England try, New Zealand won the fixture comfortably in the end, but it was close throughout and Hansen says that it is due to England’s move away from an expansive gameplan.

“Every match against England has been physically tough,” Hansen said. “In that first Test in June they should have won and taken advantage of us only having five days to prepare.

“Okay, they had a young side but they still should have won. Our guys found a way to win. The second Test was an even game, there was one point in it, but with seven minutes to go we picked the bag up and went home.

“The last Test in New Zealand we dominated when they tried to play us at our own game, but on Saturday they went back to their old style. They wanted to get physical, drive us and out-scrum us. It is going to be with interest that I watch what they do over the next few weeks.”

He also brought up the issue of television replays on the big screen, saying that local tv producers are in a position to influence referees by showing replays that get the crowd rilled up, and make the officials take notice. He said the same thing after their 27-25 loss to South Africa.

It happened with Dane Coles’ yellow card at Twickenham, as replays were shown and referee Nigel Owens yellow carded the hooker for lashing out with his boot. A similar thing happened late in the game when Charlie Faumuina scored but Owens checked it again after a raucous crowd reaction.

“My biggest concern is that the TV producers are starting to have an influence on the game,” Hansen said. “If something goes wrong, we see a replay 10 times even though the referee hasn’t seen it, the touch judge hasn’t seen it, the TMO hasn’t seen it.

“Referees will make mistakes and some of those mistakes will cost you the game. You’ve got to live with that. The TV producers, they’re starting to annoy me now somewhat,” he added.

View a highlights wrap below, and on page two you can see Steve Hansen’s review of the game in the post match press conference, and short highlights with New Zealand commentary

59 Comments

  •  drg
    drg

    desertcolt, I agree that one shouldn't ignore what if's completely, but I dislike the view a lot of people take when they bundle up all their 'what if's' and account them all and say it = a win... I mean, you could look at some of the most brutal games some teams have faced http://www.rugbydata.com/centuries/ 'we'd have won if my team hadn't got smashed and had scored more points'....

    Reply
  •  straightenup
    straightenup

    The point Hansen makes about the TV replays (and he's hardly the first to make it) is clearly a concern for many people who care about the game, as the amount of discussion on the subject through all the rugby sites shows. It affects every rugby playing country and it seems to me that the majority of people who actually think about something before posting, tend to agree with his general point, no matter who they support. But you're basically saying that he should never speak up about anything important if he wins. That just doesn't make sense, and anyway you'd criticise him more if he'd lost and spoken up.

    Reply
  •  desertcolt07
    desertcolt07

    for instance, they didnt replay the whitelock try over and over

    Reply
  •  desertcolt07
    desertcolt07

    'what if's' are pointless but can be fun to argue about.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    I've said it before, the whole thing with 'what if's' is totally pointless.. If NZ hadn't had that try awarded they'd have realised they were behind and fought even harder to create opportunities (or try to). If NZ had got all their kicks England would realise they were far behind and do what they can to make up the difference... Blanket 'what if' statements never cover both teams, they only ever focus on one teams downfalls and build them up, ignoring the fact that the majority of professional teams are flexible and adaptable. Sorry to be a reply to you Pete, I realise that your comment was in reply to another what if.. I just find the majority of the above comments from both Dave, fly half, colt and yourself to be more or less baseless...

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    One of the best comments re the all blacks. I think the only reason it appears that they 'cheat' more, is because of how good they are at not getting caught. Also, I think we're all looking for it as well. As soon as you know RMc is playing, you instinctively look for that pesky 7 lying on the wrong side, hands in the ruck etc... he is also very good at looking innocent as well! As you said, every team cheats, some are better than others at doing it. Look at Jim Hamilton for instance, he's abysmal at his timing at priorities. Scotland will be losing by 1 point, they'll be on the opposition try line with a penalty advantage 10 seconds left on the clock and the 10 in the pocket lining up for a drop goal. The ball will be totally secure at the back of the ruck and Jim will decide to poke someone away from a ruck for no apparent reason.... therefore reversing the penalty and causing the loss... I'm sure it's a slight exaggeration.. (slight)..

    Reply
  •  desertcolt07
    desertcolt07

    but only as long as it isnt biased

    Reply
  •  desertcolt07
    desertcolt07

    maybe, but the whitelock try should have and therefore AB's still win

    Reply
  •  oldflyhalf
    oldflyhalf

    mate, wishful thinking... :) ...only 21-16 ???

    Reply
  •  danknapp
    danknapp

    Fight fight fight fi- BORING!

    Reply
  •  vladimir
    vladimir

    My exact thoughts during the game. I remember him bitterly calling the English team 'footballers' aswell.

    Reply
  •  jimmy23
    jimmy23

    Thanks And yes, I felt quite similar as well. That and the "WHAT ARE YOU DOING THERE, YOU'RE A FULLBACK!!" directed towards Ian Balshaw at a ruck are amongst Brian Moore's finest moments.

    Reply
  •  foxtrot
    foxtrot

    Indeed I was talking about Hansen, sorry if that was unclear. I accept your apology.

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos

    Excellent comment mate, agree with every word of that. I felt like Brian Moore watching Toby Flood a few years ago (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTQWT-B0EBw) during that second half...

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos

    Thank you Kiwi in Aus, whiteafrican and bloblabli. You learn something new every day...

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos

    I think Nige could hear the TMO and decided to over-rule him based on his viewing of the replay. This in my opinion - based on the fact that Nigel Owens was clearly correct - is good, strong leadership and refereeing.

    Reply
  •  whiteafrican
    whiteafrican

    @hellraiser_rob - That's not at all clear, as FoXtroT's comment was a response to my post... But on the off-chance that you're right, I'll take my own medicine: @FoXtroT - On the assumption that you were talking about Steve Hansen, rather than my comment, I apologise unreservedly for questioning your integrity.

    Reply
  •  hellraiser_rob
    hellraiser_rob

    He's talking about Hansen, not you, so pipe down!

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    As stated, I; unfortunately, didn't see the game, so regarding Tv producers and fourth officials I cannot comment to in depth. From what I heard on the radio, again it was to do with the advertising or something like that. Could the TV producers not be forgiven as they were/could have been replaying the try? Or were they actually trying to stir up trouble? Regarding the fourth official, was he involved in this?

    Reply
  •  gonzoman
    gonzoman

    Vagrant, there was no "double-movement" for Cruden's try. Law 15.5 (c) specifically states that "a tackled player may release the ball by putting it on the ground in any direction, provided this is done immediately." While the definition of "immediately" can be debated, in this case it is pretty clear that Cruden's first action after landing and stopping is to reach out and ground the ball on the line. That, in combination with the fact that there was no English player attempting to compete with the ball means that his actions have not contravened the law quoted above, nor have they prevented an opposing player from attempting to play the ball. The decision was correct: try awarded, and no need to check with the TMO.

    Reply
  •  45678
    45678

    It was touched by an England player in goal just before whiteock dived in, so by the letter of the law it should have been a 5m scrum to nz. Think it was vunipola, but it was completely ignored by the tmo

    Reply
  •  colombes
    colombes

    Man, sorry, but your arguments are rubbish as NZ, whether u appreciate the ref or not, was miles than the final scoreline. u know it, i know it, this whole forum also. Cruuden first try was tricky, but i tend to believe the ball touched the line one 1/4 of second Fauminua try was correct, as owens was influenced by twickenham constant booing. it was the ad line, not the try line. As for McCaw, he often escaped crime, i agree, but not more than any other match. A good england team, yes, during the first 15 minutes, after? let's be serious.

    Reply
  •  flanker2712
    flanker2712

    IN response to Facepalm's comment, I think the reason it wasn't awarded is because there was no "grounding" of the ball (i.e. holding the ball and touching the ground with it or putting downward pressure on the ball already on the ground). It would be a stretch to say Whitelock was holding the ball at any time in that sequence.

    Reply
  •  daluaine
    daluaine

    Regarding the Hogg incident, that was in the Millenium stadium not Murrayfield as stated above. But please anyone else correct me, as a regular attendee at Murrayfield I can't remember any replays of contentious plays being shown to the crowd - they are only shown on the TV coverage. In fact it can be frustrating as you end up texting a mate watching the game on telly to find out if it was a fair decision or not.

    Reply
  •  facepalm
    facepalm

    Owens said the ball was on the line.

    Reply
  •  whiteafrican
    whiteafrican

    @FoXtroT - Where did I say it is "fine when it happens in NZ"? I clearly said (and clarified in the posts below before you posted) that it's a potential problem everywhere, regardless of which teams are playing. If you're going to allege that other supporters are guilty of hypocrisy, then either back it up with evidence, or have the stones to apologise for an unjust accusation.

    Reply
  •  whiteafrican
    whiteafrican

    Yeah, Nasi Manu did the exact same thing for Canterbury in the ITM cup this year - except that his try was actually awarded. (Whitelock would have been playing for Canterbury had he not been with the ABs, but I suspect he saw the game).

    Reply
  •  danknapp
    danknapp

    I've said it before and I'll say it again, the Rugby culture in NZ does create some very switched on individuals.

    Reply
  •  danknapp
    danknapp

    Basically DrugbyD, they break the rules to give themselves a slight advantage, but they have the cheek to be so bloody good at Rugby that they can stop when the referee tells them to and still win. Everyone cheats as much as they think they can get away with, it's just that the ABs have such good Rugby brains that they know when to do it, when not to do it, and when to stop doing it if the referee has had enough. The anger felt by non-Kiwis (such as myself) is really just frustration that they can be so bloody good. They don't cheat more, they just cheat better, which is immensely frustrating.

    Reply
  •  danknapp
    danknapp

    Sorry Dave, but any discussions about Rugby will have to move to a Rugby related discussion page. Oh, wait...

    Reply
  •  danknapp
    danknapp

    I've been to games at Twickenham where I can't see a bleeding thing because the angle has been so bad, and so have spent the game watching it on the big screen and learning about TMO decisions via texts from a mate. Yes, the atmosphere is good and all, but some of the seats are less than optimal.

    Reply
  •  jeri
    jeri

    Whoa if that's true that's one very quick thinking by Whitelock.

    Reply
  •  jeri
    jeri

    Well DrugbyD if you've watched as many All Blacks games as I have you'll know that the All Blacks always lifts a gear whenever they're yellow carded. Did you see how the All Blacks were dominating possession and territory during Dan Coles' sin bin (and scoring a penalty goal as well)? Owens was clearly bribed to assist the All Blacks by yellow carding them at the second half.

    Reply
  •  danknapp
    danknapp

    Let's stop this from becoming another boring thread about ABs cheating and have a grown-up discussion about whether a neutral TV presence in the ground is desirable or not. Thanks whiteafrican for bringing it back to the discussion.

    Reply
  •  desertcolt07
    desertcolt07

    If I were an england fan, I'd count my lucky stars that is wasn't a blow out. 1 brilliant indervidual effort and poor all blacks goal kicking is what kept england in the game

    Reply
  •  jimmy23
    jimmy23

    Going to avoid the whole penalty/referee/television replay debate and comment on the game. As an England I'm now worried. Our game management and kicking the 2nd half was horrible, yes the All Blacks played to the conditions very well but we had more than one opportunity to get our of our half an we messed up every chance. You can't win a game when basically the entire 2nd half is in your territory. Compare that to the 1st half where we still have some glaring problems despite the fact we came out on top. 1. The classic 'not taking our chances'. Johnny May could perhaps be forgiven for not offloading to Farrell for that one kick as he had about 0.2 seconds to react between catching the ball and falling to the floor. Brown missed an absolute sitter of a try. We need to be leaving the 22 with points every time, whether it be a 3 pointer or a 7 pointer. 2. The backs. We still don't have a fully functioning back line. Whats the point in having May, Brown and Rokodunguni there if they barely see the ball? Look what happened when May was put into a bit of space. Why have such a powerful runner like Roko there when all he gets are crash balls? Lancaster has improved a lot of things about the way England play but there's so much more than can be done. We have to beat SA next week, if we don't then I seriously don't think we'll make it past the Semis. The 'we can take positives from this' act has run its course now.

    Reply
  • Under the current laws of the game a ruck/maul/scrum is over when the ball or ball carrier breaks the plane of the try line. That being the case once the ball touched the try line the ruck is over and therefore no offside line exists.

    Reply
  •  bloblabli
    bloblabli

    the ball was inside the end goal area therefore the offside law doesn't apply.

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos

    The fact that Owens has attracted criticism from both sides illustrates two things: 1) On balance he probably got it about right. 2) The game of rugby is very fast following football down the toilet with all the bitching and moaning about refs. Having said that, I do share the concern over undue influence from TV producers. There does need to be a rational and sensible debate about it and guidelines made. My view is that replays should only be shown in the stadium if requested by the ref and more real-speed footage used instead of the super-slow-mo which often distorts facts.

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos

    Is there a reason why Whitelock's try was not disallowed by coming round the side of the ruck? That's what I saw at the time, which would make the grounding of the ball irrelevant. Penalty to England.

    Reply
  •  mattyj
    mattyj

    I get the gist of this for the Wales vs Scotland match, yes ref awarded a yellow for the late charge, but then the replay showed that Hoggs shoulder makes contact with the Welsh players chin (and it obviously looks worse in slowmo) so its worthy of a red. Seeing the assumed body barge become a shoulder vs face match influenced the ref to make it a red. I assume you're saying it's bias that the replay was shown but when plays stopped and there are thousands of fans watching why wouldn't you show the action that has stopped the match? Even if it is a bias move to show the crowd so they can influence the decision it is still up to the ref and officials to make that decision and use the laws of the game to decide.

    Reply
  •  mattyj
    mattyj

    I get the gist of this for the Wales vs Scotland match, yes ref awarded a yellow for the late charge, but then the replay showed that Hoggs shoulder makes contact with the Welsh players chin (and it obviously looks worse in slowmo) so its worthy of a red. Seeing the assumed body barge become a shoulder vs face match influenced the ref to make it a red. I assume you're saying it's bias that the replay was shown but when plays stopped and there are thousands of fans watching why wouldn't you show the action that has stopped the match? Even if it is a bias move to show the crowd so they can influence the decision it is still up to the ref and officials to make that decision and use the laws of the game to decide.

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos

    McCaw was pinged on a number of occasions including giving away three points in the second half. I actually felt while watching the game that interestingly enough Offside Rich's invisibility cloak had finally slipped.

    Reply
  •  45678
    45678

    this article suggested that Hansen believes foul play should be discarded if it's not picked up immediately. Owens was right on this occasion to check foul play after there was a scuffle and a suspicion of foul play He was completely wrong to try and give an England player a yellow via the tmo, and was shown to be wrong. I couldn't undertand how he can then just give a penalty. A cynical penalty 5m out is a yellow regardless, but there was no penalty offence, yet a penalty was given anyway. Clear as mud

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos

    Whilst I agree with you in theory, I remember that incident and felt it was excellent use of the video replays available. Yellow would have been the wrong call; Garces had the balls and intelligence to make the correct decision based on the evidence available.

    Reply
  •  facepalm
    facepalm

    I'm not sure I understand Owens' logic behind that Whitelock (almost) try. If you conclude that the ball is on the line, which Owens did, then the first touch of the ball is not a knock on, it is a try. Surely the knock on happens after the ball has already been touched down? Of all the decisions that have been raised this seems to me the most contentious and the least discussed.

    Reply
  •  45678
    45678

    I'm pretty sure what can be agreed on is that mccaw should have been penalised in the second half for his diving scoop out of the ruck. Every other player in the world would have conceded a penalty, many would have got a yellow

    Reply
  •  drugbyd
    drugbyd

    I agree with everything you have said apart from the very last part(concerning selective camera work). You need to remember that just because we, watching on TV can't see it, doesn't mean that it's not being policed. The scenario you provided is explicitly the role of the assistant referee and not the role of the TV audience. But in saying that, I wouldn't be against an arial cam.

    Reply
  •  vagrant
    vagrant

    Pretty rich coming from Hansen, when the ABs have got away with murder for years because refs are on thrall of them. V disappointing that on Saturday a ref as good as Owens seemed to have gone the same way. Fantastic send half performance from the ABs but they won through two tries that weren't tries: the first was a double movement and their last, despite an amazing build up, was grounded a good 9 inches shirt of the line. But Owens failed to check the first, and took only a cursory look at the second when the crowd saw it on the big screen and rightly showed their annoyance. Oh, and of course he ignored McCaw - who spent most of the game offside, but then when is he ever pinged for that ... Big fan of the ABs and this is a truly gt team. But let's take this rubbish out of the game, ref the ABs like we ref everyone else and give them a chance to show us all how good they really are (which is, I repeat, pretty damn good). If we had better reffing on Saturday it could/should have been a v different result from a v good england team who have taken the ABs closer than almost any other team over the last two years ...

    Reply
  •  i_bleed_green_and_gold
    i_bleed_green_and_gold

    The producers most certainly do have an influence on the crowd and in turn the ref. It did happen with the SA vs NZ game at ellis park which I was a bit shocked when they got called back that far for the lambie kick. on the other hand, there are some instances where the producers do milk foul play by only showing the slow mo versions- like the same incident where barnes negated the producers influence by asking for full speed. That being said, I think the problem extends to other aspects of the game where the producer can see the game from all angles and chose to show the TMO the most favorable view depending on the refs question. Or, if there is any view that raises some doubt in the refs mind about the buildup to a try the producers may choose to show or not show the footage depending on their affiliations. Ultimately, they are in the business of producing a Show that draws a crowd so emphasizing errors or creating controversy is part of "good" TV. What is interesting is that Hansen brings up the point and I think he is well aware of this practice in his home country. I have noticed in some home games (and mentioned before on this site) some of the NZ breakouts from their 22 that lead up to tries, Usually a chip kick ahead is used and Savea is running up the wings but no camera angles are available to determine if he is in front of the kicker (IMO i think he has gotten away with a few). I think an areal cam that gives a birds EYE view could be incorporated that gives the whole picture -( also nice for coaching field positioning and transitions from offense to defense etc. This may help with the forward passes too. Thoughts?

    Reply
  •  blindref
    blindref

    In some respects I have to agree with whiteafrican on his thoughts about the influence of TV producers on referees. Thankfully at the levels I currently referee there is little chance at all of being influenced by any video evidence, beyond ribbing in the clubhouse after a game by my own club. Last year I saw this blatantly used to influence the decision of Jerome Garces when he refereed Scotland v Wales in the 6 Nations. Stuart Hogg had commited the foul for a late shoulder barge and Garces reacted immediately by stopping play and YELLOW carding Hogg. Without asking the local TV producer replayed the incident over the big screen several times and casued Garces to change his mind, rcall Hogg to the PItch as he was leaving and change his decision to a RED. As it happens it was a Scotland production at Murrayfield so we can't claim home team bias but the actions of the TV producer had a direct effect on the outcome of the game as a result. Patently unfair in my books as the decision was made, right or wrong, (you can argue the merits of the card colour if you like, but it was deserved) and the ref should have stuck with his decision and not allowed himself to be influenced.

    Reply
  •  foxtrot
    foxtrot

    I like how that now that its been going against his team he starts to call fowl. Its fine when it happens in NZ but as soon as it happens in SA and Eng he is all about changing the situation.

    Reply
  •  whiteafrican
    whiteafrican

    @Corrie - Not sure if you're referring to my first post, but just to clarify - the TV producers issue has nothing to do with the ABs. Every home team stands to be helped by a 'home' TV producer, and every away team stands to suffer. The problem is not that the home TV producer highlights cheating by a team, it's that his highlights will be selective, only picking up on offending by the away team. That's a problem of fairness and is something the IRB should take seriously, regardless of which team is playing.

    Reply
  •  whiteafrican
    whiteafrican

    No, absolutely not - the Coles decision was clearly a yellow, which Owens got right. The debate was, as you say, shambolic, but not entirely Owens' fault, as he seemed to be having trouble hearing the 4th official.

    Reply
  •  whiteafrican
    whiteafrican

    To clarify, I appreciate that Owens was in a "damned if you do damned if you don't" situation and I don't think he takes any of the blame here. The combination of partisan TV producers and, ermmm... blindness(?) by the fourth official were the source of the problem.

    Reply
  •  45678
    45678

    so what he is saying is that it's fine to kick people if you don't get caught? I thought SKY were doing their level best to remain neutral. They didn't discuss the first NZ "try" at all. The most shambolic use of the TMO was when Owens wanted to yellow card an England player (Tom Wood) went to the TMO and realised there was no penalty to give, then made up an arbitrary offside call to cover his arse basically, every supporter / coach / player is one eyed and you will never get a completely balanced view from anybody

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    To be honest, that NZ try with the ball rolling forward looked suspect to me. I don't like that type of try (if it's allowed), we saw one a little while ago where it was short but the player rolled it forward and then this one I'm not sure about... either way I'm not sure on the rulings of it, but I don't like that type... As for the kick. I don't really see the issue with a yellow here.. it was something to nothing, but Scott Murray for Scotland was red carded many years ago for kicking out at a Welsh player for a late tackle, he caught the guy on the head and it was a red card... I therefore don't see the issue with a missed target kick, being awarded a yellow. I'll admit it was something to nothing.. nothing in it etc, but had it been a penalty or a yellow I'd not have argued either too much. In the highlight video where the NZ commentators shout offside, I'm not so sure. The ball was well out the back of the ruck, the player that tackled look like he came from England side :/ Not 100% on that, but that seemed a bit harsh. Unfortunately I didn't see that 'Try awarded, lets have another look' thing, but I did hear that it was confusion with the advertising line or something and I hear commentators actually defending Nigel Owens and saying whoever thought that advertisement was a good idea isn't too bright. "where the best Ref in the world found himself questioning his own judgment in awarding a (perfectly legitimate)" so I'm not entirely sure it was a bad move. One of those damned if you do damned if you don't moments... I do however think referee's need to make sure they don't just play to the crowd, with the injection of 'Soccer' which is creeping into the game, we're finding more and more booing for blatant GOOD decisions. (Sorry French/Italians, you've been guilty of this for a little while now). So regardless of what the crowd think, referee's need to focus on the game - if that means questioning a try, then so be it.

    Reply
  •  corrie
    corrie

    His main concern is that not everyone is OK with AB's blatant cheating.

    Reply
  •  whiteafrican
    whiteafrican

    He's pretty much hit the nail on the head. If the TV producer is a fan of the home team (pretty much guaranteed for most test matches, other than perhaps the exhibition games played in third countries) then of course he's going to be tempted to use the means at his disposal to get the crowd to react to replays of the other side doing something wrong. Happened in the last SA / NZ test, and again at the weekend, where the best Ref in the world found himself questioning his own judgment in awarding a (perfectly legitimate) try because of the actions of a TV producer. We either need neutral TV producers (seems unlikely) or stricter rules about what can and cannot be shown on screens inside the stadium.

    Reply

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Referee decisions in spotlight as New Zealand prove too good for England | RugbyDump