Many a game is endured with fans slumped back on their seats or sat with heads in hands utterly baffled or outraged by the games faux-pas or shocking decisions by officials. Only the other day, Roman Poite, a Referee with a below par reputation, made many calls that were criticised from pundits and fans a like. Why, when we continually strive to watch a structured, fair game of Rugby do we still get this mass of pendulum decisions. Yes, people make mistakes, yet action needs to be taken to stop this criminal, controversial part of otherwise exceptional game.
Therefore it is imperative that the IRB approach future decisions smartly, keeping in mind that the game does need fluidity, however, making decisions less controversial and consistent across the board. The new Scrum calls will take time to get right, sport will always be unpredictable, although as an avid fan, there are still changes that can be made. Here are my personal 5 most annoying features to Union-please feel free to comment with yours!
1. Sympathetic decisions-
Referees are expected to use their initiative and make decisions that they feel support the context of the game. Why is it that the officials can give a Penalty to one side in the first 10 minutes then switch sides with 10 minutes left on the clock even though the trigger was a mirror image of the first?!
2. Poor officiating of Scrums-
It is very rare that you’ll come across a top class Referee who has grown up experiencing the attritional, pounding lifestyle of the Scrum and with the implementation of new Scrum Laws again it does make officials lives a hell of a lot harder. It will take time but I hope to see some more composed and definite decision making at Scrum time. Even the great Poite said ‘Crouch, Touch, Pause, Engage’ during the encounter at Eden Park.
3. No arm tackles-
A part of the game that seems to have become more prominent in seasons gone by. The whole aim of a no arms tackle is to injure the opposing player. Not only is it dangerous to the tackler and tacklee, it’s a vile practice and sets a poor example for young Union players.
4. Making a meal of it-
Rugby Union is known as a ‘gentleman’s game played by thugs’ and that’s one of the terrific, unique aspects about it. If we maintain our morals and create a positive, polite atmosphere around the sport it should continue through to the grassroots. Any player that dive’s, rolls around or demonstrates petty behaviour to try and put their team at an advantage should take a long, hard look in the mirror! Keep Rugby away from the practices of Football.
5. Booing by the masses-
Away from what goes on the pitch, the actions of some fans again leaves a lot to be desired. It happens on a regular basis, and on occasion I can understand the need to jeer and hiss, however what is most agitating is when supporters will continually boo at player on the opposing side, or when they are taking kicks at goal etc. it’s needless and pathetic.
I know it seems like a little bit of a negative rant, but if factors like these were to be minimised I don’t see why our game wouldn’t appeal to an even larger audience!
What are your opinions on the games sour points?