There were a couple of interesting incidents at the weekend regarding the laws of rugby – neither of which had anything to do with head high tackles!
In the Saints game against Sale there was some confusion over a penalty that had been awarded – the full details are on the excellent 365 rugby site, which is far more whizzo on the rules than I have ever been – or frankly want to be given the inherent complexity and frequency of changes –
The gist is –
In the second half of the English Premiership match between Northampton Saints and Sale Sharks, Sale are penalised for collapsing a maul well inside their half and five metres or so from touch. Stephen Myler, bleeding head bandaged like a war wounded, immediately makes it obvious that he is kicking for touch. Just before Myler kicks to touch, Paul Diggin, wearing a water bib, comes up to Myler and the referee. He, a former Northampton star, is bringing on the kicking tee. Myler rejects Diggin’s offer of a tee and punts the ball over the right touchline. The referee is about to play on with a line-out when his attention turns to Diggin and the tee. The referee then insists that Myler has to kick at goal. Clearly angry, Myler misses the kick.
There is full chapter and verse on the link but the upshot is that the ultimate decision regarding the kick is with the bloke bringing on the kicking tee. What the fuck’s that about? – He might simply be doing a streak and using the tee to cover his todger in the cold wind.
Rugby 365 seems to explain more eloquently, but still with some dismay –
But this incident seems to suggest that the arrival of the tee is more important than the kicker’s indication. That seems so wrong, that decisions are made by remote control and the players merely robots. And yet on other occasions you will see the captain, who is not the kicker, tell the referee that his side will kick at goal and the referee immediately indicate that it will be a kick at goal.
Even more fun was the ref in the Munster v Leinster game – from the incomparable Nigel Owens (who else) –
Apparently you can no longer put your hands in the ruck – as if anyone in their own mind would ever bloody want to?
When I played you only shoved your mitts where 16 ugly bastards could (and without exception would) stamp all over them, if you fancied a few days off work the following week. I was never that desperate to cry off – despite being lazy as well as an inveterate coward!
Some of the forwards fancied a longer break and so stuck their heads in there – or maybe they were just even more stupid than I thought.