It seems as thought referee controversies at the World Cup are becoming something of the norm, so today we take a closer look at an issue that comes up more often than it should. The forward pass.
The New Zealand vs France quarter final at the 2007 Rugby World Cup was blighted by a missed call from a referee that, depending on who you speak to, was one of the reasons for the All Blacks’ early exit from the tournament. This weekend, the two sides meet again, in the 2011 final.
The IRB recently put together a video for their Total Rugby show that aims to explain the forward pass law in a way that all can understand. It’s long over due, and will hopefully clear things up a bit as its one of the areas of the game that is always scrutinised and heavily debated.
The whole concept is that the ball must travel backwards out of the players hands, but can move forward through the air, due to basic physics. In essence it’s a simple formula to follow, but time and time again we still see it reffed incorrectly as forward passes are missed, or ruled incorrectly. It’s unfortunately still down to referee interpretation on the day, and does look different when watching on TV.
This video demonstrates how the momentum from the running player carries the ball forward most of the time and shouldn’t be judged as relative to the ground. They have perhaps pushed the theory a little in this example, but the concept stands. Check it out and see what you think.