Monday 18 December 2017

Ollie Barrett: The laws of rugby union are simple ... it's the interpretations that cause the bar-stool confusion

Referee Wayne Barnes awards a late penalty to Wales
Referee Wayne Barnes awards a late penalty to Wales

MANY times I’ve sat in crowded bars and paid more attention to the comments of fellow spectators than I did to the television commentary. And when possible I strained to hear the remarks of the referee as he explained the reason for the particular decision. There were so many opinions I wasn’t quite sure if any of us really knew what was going on. It was only when a mate of mind nudged me during yesterday's game and asked, ‘what was that for?’ I had to shrug my shoulders. Damned if I knew because I actually thought I did know, and couldn’t even feign knowledge. My arms went up in defeat.

The laws of the game are straight forward enough. They are nicely laid out with colourful images to assist your understanding and reasonably easy reading. Now, it’s with the interpretation of the laws, well that’s where the confusion arises. And the cause of much consternation, I may add, for both players and spectators.

But before delving into the murky waters of what is and isn’t considered to be offside and infringements in the ruck, a comment on the style of play in the modern game is warranted. It’s simply this - posture and positioning heading into the tackle. If this were addressed there’d at least be less rucking and less opportunity for being pinged in the first place. In essence, more running and passing. Isn’t that what we want?

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