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Duty referee 535 - Stuart Berry

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1. Name: Chris Russell

On three occasions in two recent international matches penalties were given to front row players who had been forced up out of the scrum. The referee signal was similar to an opening drawbridge and clearly indicated that the penalty was against the player standing up. From the Laws of the Game 2017: 20.8 (i) Lifting or forcing an opponent up. A front row player must not lift an opponent in the air, or force an opponent upwards out of the scrum, either when the ball is being thrown in or afterwards. This is dangerous play. Sanction: Penalty kick There appears to be no prohibition in the Laws against a player standing up given that he doesn’t break his bind. Sanctioning a player who has been forced up out of the scrum, instead of the player who forced him up, is a serious misapplication of law. Is there an explanation that I’m missing?

Stuart Berry: Thanks for the query Russell. It's key as a referee to understand the difference between a player forcefully pushing up vs a player who pulls out of the contest by standing up. A player who pulls out of the contest by standing up is penalisable, a player who forces another upwards in a dangerous action is also penalisable.

2. Name: Zaahid Appoles

In a school game last term, Rondebosch vs Bishops (41 mins 30 sec into the game), a tackle is being attempted to be made on the ball carrier. the ball carrier, in contact, lifts the tackle on his shoulder and runs approximately 10m with him on his shoulder and 'dumps' him on the ground and what looks like he lands on the upper body (neck/shoulder etc.). Would this be deemed as dangerous or only if the infringement is carried out by a tackler, as law 10.4(j) states: Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst that player's feet are still off the ground such that the player's head and/or upper body come into contact with the ground is dangerous play. it does not state if a tackler lifts the player or ball carrier. would this still be deemed as dangerous - just for clarity sake Thanks

Stuart Berry: Hi Zaahid. Lifting a player on the field is considered an immediate ‘no go’ as it means the lifted player generally has no control over his own safety. In the example you mention, we should certainly be considering this dangerous as it does not a good look nor is it an example for player safety, especially at schoolboy level.

3. Name: Arthur Southgate

A drop goal attempt is charged down and in the process, the ball goes over the dead-ball line. What would be your decision together with the law please.

Stuart Berry: Hi Arthur. Whenever a ball goes over the dead-ball line, the consideration is who took the ball into the in-goal area. If the attack did, then we have a 22m drop-out. If the defence did, then we have a 5m scrum.

4. Name: Mohd Nasrul Hakim Zahir

Dear sir. The conversion situation after a try. A player kicks the conversion into the post and an assistant referee raises the flag to confirm a successful conversion but the referee standing at the kicker does not accept the successful conversion because based on his eyes the ball went out of the post. So what is the right action of the referee according to successful conversion by the assistant referee?

Stuart Berry: Hi Mohd. In this case, the referee needs to ensure he is 100% sure, and if he feels so, he can at all times overrule an assistant referee.

5. Name: Chris Russell

In this clip from the 2017 Under-20s (Scotland vs Ireland) Green attack from a ruck. Green 13 makes an inside run and the ball goes behind him to Green 14. Green 13 continues his run and collides with the Blue defender who was positioned to make the tackle on Green 14. Is this a legitimate decoy run or is it obstruction? If the referee decides that it is intentional obstruction is a yellow card appropriate?

Stuart Berry: Hi Chris. The key when deciding obstruction is based on two items. Firstly, when the pass was made was Green 13 in an onside position to receive the pass if he had got it? If yes, we play on. Then, after this happens, does 13 change his running lines at all? If he does and makes contact, it is penalisable. If not, then it generally means the defence has bought the ‘dummy’ and it's play on.

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