Leinster v Ospreys
Happy New Year, it is amazing how fast a rugby season goes. We’re half way through our 2013/14 season and already a number of new referees have passed their trials, embarked on a new refereeing career and we are about to deliver our second new recruits course of the season. Our organization is continually growing learning and improving and we look forward to 2014, and delivering more top quality referees and assessors to Leinster and the world.
Earlier last year, at the start of the season, I wrote about the changes in the scrum law. Interestingly enough the International Rugby Board has introduced, with immediate effect, a change to its scrumming procedure, eliminating the referee’s verbal ‘Yes, Nine’ call but retaining the referee’s control of when the ball is fed into the scrum. It is a slight change – more how than what. The ‘Yes, Nine’ call has been seen as a call to action for the team not putting in the ball. Now the referee will find another means, communicated to the teams before the match, of telling the scrumhalf when to put the ball in – dropping or lifting a hand, giving a nod to or touching the scrumhalf – that sort of thing.
The statement sent by Joël Jutge, the IRB’s refereeing boss, reads: ‘Up to now, the referee has been asked to tell the scrum-half that the scrum is ready for the put-in by the use of the phrase “yes nine”. But following an initial review, including consultation with national coaches and referee managers, it has been decided that referees will adopt a non-verbal communication to scrumhalves for the introduction of the ball. This is in accordance with the relevant law (20.5 Throwing the Ball Into the Scrum).
‘The change is effective immediately and will include this week’s Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup matches in the northern hemisphere (January 9-12). It will also include the next rounds of other elite competitions, including the Top 14 in France (January 24), Aviva Premiership in England (February 7-9) and the Rabo Direct Pro 12 in other parts of Europe (February 7-9).
‘As with the original protocol, it is up to individual Unions to decide whether this change will be adopted at levels below Elite Rugby.’ The IRB is reluctant to do away with referee control altoegtehr as that could revert to early pushing which it seeks to avoid so that scrums are stable and stationary before the ball is put in.
Law 20.1 (j) Stationary and parallel. Until the ball leaves the scrum half’s hands, the scrum must be stationary and the middle line must be parallel to the goal-lines. A team must not shove the scrum away from the mark before the ball is thrown in.
Sanction: Free Kick
Referee control of the put-in seeks to ensure that this law is complied with.
Law 20.5 THROWING THE BALL INTO THE SCRUM
No Delay. As soon as the front rows have come together, the scrumhalf must throw in the ball without delay. The scrum half must throw in the ball when told to do so by the referee. The scrumhalf must throw in the ball from the side of the scrum first chosen.
Sanction: Free Kick
All that has changed now is how the referee tells the scrumhalf when to put the ball in. The hope that it makes for better scrumming and eliminates a reason to free kick teams.
The International Rugby Board has also announced the referee appointments for the Women’s Six Nations Championship 2014. Leinster and Ireland referee Helen O’Reilly has been making great strides in world refereeing throughout 2013 and has again been rewarded for her excellent performances.
Appointments were made by the IRB match official selection committee, following a detailed review of recent performances.
The Women’s Six Nations, which kicks off on 31 January 2014 and concludes on 16 March, will see nine referees take charge of 15 matches with Nicky Inwood, Helen O’Reilly, Claire Hodnett, Christine Bigaran, Sherry Trumbull and Leah Berard being appointed to two matches each.
The full list of referees for the Women’s Six Nations 2014 is: Jess Beard (New Zealand), Leah Berard (USA), Christine Bigaran (France), Claire Hodnett (England), Nicky Inwood (New Zealand), Marlize Jordaan (South Africa), Helen O’Reilly (Ireland), Amy Perrett (Australia) and Sherry Trumbull (Canada).
Referee preparation for the Six Nations championship included a three-day camp in Marcoussis, France, which is a host venue for the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 in October.
The camp mirrored the gathering for their male counterparts held last August at the same venue. The schedule included a series of preparation sessions, ranging from the consistent management of the ‘crouch, bind, set’ scrum engagement trial to an extensive fitness monitoring programme.
France vs England in Grenoble
Referee: Helen O’Reilly
Wales vs France in Port Talbot
Referee: Helen O’Reilly
The assistant referees will be from the host country.
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