It’s just not cricket…


Over the last few seasons an irritating and growing trend is for players to appeal for penalties, or worse still to demand cards.  Whilst my fixture today was, on the whole, a good honest contest, I had to resolve the appealing issue very early on.

“He’s off his feet, he’s off his feet. Penalty sir. PENALTY”!…. Peep. “Penalty. Dissent”.

Players, and coaches want a penalty for everything.  They do not consider materiality. Was the player off his feet.  Damn right he was – but why?  Because he was pulled down by his opposing number at the breakdown.  Admiteddly I was rusty – but so too where the players.  But they cant try the football tactics of appealing or questioning every decision.

There are potentially hundreds of infringements that could merit a pentalty if, as a referee, we wanted to be pendantic.  However, the diference between Football and Rugby is that Football has Rules, Rugby Laws.  Rules are black and white.  Laws are open to interpretation.  Rugby refs can use their contextual judgement to determine what needs to be penalised and what we can leave.  The following stats were compliled by

  • Lineout, 45 possible offences
  • Scrum, 45 possible offences
  • Tackle, 23 possible offences
  • Ruck, 19 possible offences
  • Maul, 14 possible offences

If players and coaches (Dr Venter) want a penalty for all infringements then no problem.  Bear in mind no one will break a sweat in the game as we blow 80 penalties!  Players should focus on playing, leave the refereeing up to the bloke in the middle with the whistle.

It doesnt matter if they are the worlds best ref, or the worlds worst.  As kids we were told “always play to the whistle” and it would be better if players remembered that, rather than behaving like children!


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