Leinster Match Program – Article 3

This article appeared in the Munster Match Day program.

Welcome to another edition of Referees Corner and to the Aviva Stadium. We extend a warm welcome to today’s officiating team from the Welsh Rugby Union comprised of match referee Ben Whitehouse, assistant referees Mike English and Dan Jones. Michael Carroll from Leinster Rugby Referees is assessing, Simon ‘Nigel’ Owens is on stats and Eddie Wigglesworth is todays match commissioner. Best of luck to all and we hope that you enjoy the unique Leinster v Munster atmosphere.

As mentioned in an earlier edition, Bryan O’Neill of Lansdowne FC was elected president of the Leinster Rugby Referees. Here is what Bryan had to say about his appointment.

“It is a great honour and privilege to the President of the Association of Referees Leinster Branch for the season 2018/19 and also that I am the 100th person to have the honour of being President.

I joined the Association in September 1978 after a 15 year rugby playing career with Lansdowne. I had 14 very enjoyable years with the whistle travelling the length and breadth of the province and also fortunate to referee abroad in England, United States and Canada, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.

Having been guided and encouraged by assessors and administrators while blowing the whistle and having got a huge amount of enjoyment at the same time I felt that it was important that I should attempt to pass on my experiences to the next generation of referees. I believe that the ARLB’s referee education process is second to none with regular seminars, workshops, monthly meetings all organised by a dedicated committed group of members. I also believe that if someone joining the Association shows the same commitment there is no reason why he/she should not get to the top of the tree.

I am very confident that the Association is in a position to meet all new, serious and interesting challenges with the necessary innovative planning to ensure its continuing success.”
Last week we wrote about the news that the World Rugby Council unanimously decided to adopt the law amendments following positive feedback from players, coaches, match officials and fans, and an evaluation by World Rugby’s 15s Laws Review Group. We went through some of these changes. Here are the final changes.

• Law 19.15 – Scrum – no signal from ref
The scrum-half doesn’t need a signal from the referee to put the ball into the scrum.
Instead, they throw it in when the scrum is “square, stable and stationary”
• Law 19.15 (f) Scrum – alignment of scrum-half
The ball must be thrown into the scrum straight, but the scrum-half throwing the ball in is allowed to align their shoulder on the middle line of the scrum.
That means they are a shoulder-width closer to their side of the scrum. A free-kick is awarded if the feed at the scrum is not straight.

• Law 19.22 – Scrum – compulsory strike
This law states that “the hooker from the team which threw in the ball must strike for the ball,” with a free-kick awarded if the hooker does not strike for the ball.
The LRG has underlined that only the hooker may strike for the ball, having had concerns about player welfare if other front row players were to strike.
• Law 19.36 (d) Scrum – Allow the number eight to pick up from the second row of the scrum
Previously, the number eight was not allowed to reach into the second row to pick the ball out of a scrum, but that has changed.

• Law 14.6 – Tackler must get up before playing the ball and then can only play from their side of the tackle gate
This law prevents the previously odd sight of tacklers bouncing straight back to their feet and going for a turnover directly from whatever position they were standing in.
Now, the tackler has to get back to their feet and work around to come through the ‘gate’ on their own team’s side if they are going to compete for the turnover.

• Law 14.11 – Change in pre-ruck offside line formation – at least one player on their feet and over the ball which is on the ground
This one was, in part, a response to incidents like Italy’s clever ‘fox’ tactics against England in the 2017 Six Nations.

• Law 15.16 (e) – No kicking the ball out of the ruck
This law simply states that players must not “[k]ick, or attempt to kick, the ball out of a ruck.”
While kicking the ball out of a ruck is now outlawed, it’s worth stressing that players can still hook the ball back onto their own side in a ruck.

Next week we will talk to Sean Gallagher, who has recently return to Leinster as our IRFU Referee Development Officer.

The Leinster Referees always need more referees and opting to become one may be the best decision you’ve made for a long time. Feel free to make contact with the Leinster Rugby Referees through Sean Gallagher at Sean.Gallagher@irfu.ie

If you are interested in becoming a referee get in contact with us through our Facebook and Google + pages, our website www.arlb.ie or through twitter @leinsterreferee.