We’ve all done it: yelled at the T.V. mid-game, rubbishing tough referee calls whilst proclaiming our superior knowledge.
We’ve all dissected controversial referee decisions with our work mates, claiming that we know best – it’s the Monday morning routine for many of us. There’s no doubt about it – few things cause as much consternation and passion as tough referee calls.
There’s nothing like watching a game of rugby when our favourite team is playing. Let’s face it – emotions can run high. For spectators, referee calls can be frustrating, infuriating and downright distressing, particularly if they go against our team.
But the reality is we have the benefit of extensive television coverage and get to see each play 10 times, from many different angles. For us, sitting at home, watching the game from the comfort of our couches, the ref’s job can seem so easy. For the ref on the field, he or she has one set of eyes and often only a split second to make a decision.
The job of a ref is not an easy one. You’re under pressure to make the right call, every single time. Sometimes you only have a split second to make a call. The tackle break is a good example. This is a dynamic part of the game which involves a lot of movement and contesting. With so much going on, the referee has to make a call without all the extra information that we get at home.
Rugby Union Rules
Let’s have a look at what the Rugby Union rules say about the role of the referee:
The referee is the sole judge of fact and of Law during a match. The referee must apply fairly all the Laws of the Game in every match.
What we all need to remember is that referees receive extensive training, mentoring and support from other referees. They spend numerous Saturdays every year refereeing games, watching games and discussing their calls and the calls of other refs. They also spend time during the week training to be referees. On these evenings they learn the rules of the game and how to apply these laws fairly to every match. They are mentored and supported by their fellow refs, who encourage them to be self-reflective, and analyse the merit of their decisions on the field. By the time they get to the higher levels of refereeing, they’ve had lots of training and experience.
It comes down to basic respect. We, as spectators, need to respect the skill and ability of each referee in making these calls in the moment. We need to accept the decisions he or she makes on the field. We also need to teach the next generation this same respect.
Our refs have to make some tough calls. Think You Can Do Better?
Answer all 4 refereeing questions on our Facebook page correctly over the next 4 weeks and go into the draw to win Mitre10 Cup tickets.
If you think you’ve got what it takes to be a ruby referee, check out our page on becoming a referee. We need more referees right now, so contact us today to get your career started!