There are a number of trends emerging in rugby that we think need clamping down on immediately, here are out top five…
1.Players complaining and appealing
An area of growing concern for rugby fans is the number of players who now seem to be airing their complaints to referees. Officials should ensure that they go back to only discussing matters with captains and offending players if necessary to stamp out this petulant behaviour. There needs to be more pressure on players to self-police this as well.
2.Diving and general play acting
Fortunately the cases of diving in rugby are still very few and far between, however we have seen a few of late, particularly in the Top 14. The play acting however is becoming more common with players making a meal of marginal challenges in an attempt to win penalties. This needs to stop immediately as it will only get worse.
3.Put ins at the set piece
Whether it be the line-out or the scrum, the officials have been given the directive to clamp down on crooked feeds, yet the issue seems worse than ever. It is such a simple fix to the game, yet for some reason referee’s continue to allow it to slip. Let’s focus on this issue for the next six months and eradicate it ahead of the World Cup.
4.The use of the TMO
Another area of discontent surrounding officiating is the overuse of the TMO. Whilst rugby’s willingness to embrace technology is a huge plus for the sport, it cannot be at the expense of all-round entertainment. The use of the TMO therefore needs to be restricted to within two phases of try-scoring situations where it does not impact on the flow of the game.
5.Holding players down
We are regularly seeing defending players holding attackers in at the ruck in order to attempt to win penalties for players being off their feet. This is slowing the ball down and providing defending sides with an unfair advantage. This aspect of the game is spoiling rugby as a spectator sport and needs to change, quickly.