Ref­er­ees must po­lice changes

The Irish Times - Monday - Sport - - Sports -

Watch­ing the Su­per Rugby Aotearoa match be­tween the Cru­saders and the Blues (above) and specif­i­cally the break­down it was in­struc­tive to note how ref­eree Paul Wil­liams in­ter­preted this as­pect of the game. There are a plethora of trial laws be­ing im­ple­mented in the com­pe­ti­tion but one area World Rugby has been keen to de-clut­ter is the break­down.

Play­ers have been in­structed that the tack­ler must roll away in an east-west di­rec­tion, or to­wards the touch­line, and that ref­er­ees will be very strict in pe­nal­is­ing play­ers who clearout or come in from the side at rucks and also that the de­fend­ing team must be “clearly” on­side at the break­down.

Tele­vi­sion cam­era an­gles can be de­cep­tive but the “clearly on­side” in­struc­tion ap­peared to be less rig­or­ously po­liced. Both teams shaved the mar­gins to a point where more play­ers ap­peared off­side than on­side.

It’s im­pos­si­ble for a ref­eree to see ev­ery en­croach­ment, so there is still fine tun­ing re­quired in terms of the in­ter­ac­tion of the three match of­fi­cials. World Rugby is keen to give the at­tack­ing team a lit­tle room to breathe in try­ing to en­sure a bet­ter spec­ta­cle but no mat­ter how many law al­ter­ations are pro­posed or adopted, the way they are in­ter­preted and of­fi­ci­ated is the ul­ti­mate ar­biter of any suc­cess­ful change.

As in Top 14 where for­mer Le­in­ster out­half cum cen­tre Noel Reid ap­pears to be headed. Ac­cord­ing to French me­dia re­ports he has signed a con­tract with Agen af­ter re­fus­ing to sign new terms with Le­ices­ter.

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