Sport Rugby

Friday 17 November 2017

Little alternative to law of jungle

When it comes to match officials, I hate being negative. Theirs is a thankless task which I wouldn't do for love nor money. That said, when they make the decision to officiate, the least the game asks of them is accuracy in interpretation.

I refer specifically to touch judges/assistant referees -- call them what you will -- but they are my personal bugbear. Yet again this weekend, we had some outrageous opting out.

At Welford Road, the punch landed by Manu Tuilagi on Chris Ashton not alone merited an early shower -- but might well have transferred from rugby citing to a different arena.

It was disgraceful, and how two men -- one on either touchline -- charged with, among other things, the responsibility of spotting off-the-ball incidents (four 'suil eile' for the referee) couldn't call the genesis of the incident accurately is beyond me.

The Brian O'Driscoll/Chris Henry incident was also missed, and in this case mercifully. Henry, like Tuilagi, was the instigator yet -- because of, let's call it lack of 'feel' -- it is the retaliator who all too often gets done.

Think of Paul O'Connell on Jonathan Thomas and you've got the drift. 'Pretty Boy' back from a bygone age I may be, but sometimes old ways and -- whisper it -- the law of the jungle is best.

Irish Independent

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