Referees Corner With Jim Scardanas

illawarrarugbylogoA really interesting one from the Referees corner this week. Several times this year I have witnessed that some teams are deciding NOT to engage or contest a lineout as a group which leads to somewhat of a shambles, with differing results and varying decisions between Referees. So I thought I would seek clarification from Jim Scardanas in this week’s Referees Corner.

Jim tells me that this was discussed in February this year at the Game Management Guidelines meeting held at the Master Builders Club. So, if a pack of forwards at a lineout decide not to engage a lineout then the following sanctions and/or processes must be followed. The Game Management Guidelines 2017 under the section headed QUICK THROW AND LINEOUT clearly state that:

 Teams deciding not to engage the maul at lineout.

* If the defenders in the lineout choose to not engage the lineout drive by leaving the lineout as a group then Penalty Kick to attacking team.

* If the defenders in the lineout choose to not engage the lineout drive by simply opening up a gap and creating space, and not leaving the lineout, the following process should be followed:

The attacking team would need to keep the ball with the front player if they were to drive downfield (therefore play on, general play - defenders could either engage to form a maul, or tackle the ball carrier.)

If the attacking team immediately passes the ball back to a player behind the front player or at the rear of the group, the referee would tell them to "Use it" which they must do immediately.

If the team drives forward with the ball at the back (and ignores the referee’s call to “Use it”), the referee should award a scrum to the defending team for "accidental offside" (rather than PK for obstruction).

This sought of play which usually ends up in a confusing mess for all concerned, invariably occurs at an attacking lineout within metres of the goal line. As far as the Rogue is concerned and I think plenty of others would agree, any team that chooses not to contest at the lineout in this manner is not playing the game in the true spirit and by not competing shouldn’t be given very much consideration at all. Just penalise them and let everyone get on with the game in the spirit of fair play. Perhaps the Law makers could make the appropriate changes to the Law Books to ensure that this blight on the game is removed once and for all.

Fourteen Straight For Avondale

MatchReportFor the second consecutive week Avondale have cast aside the challenge of a top three side with a 33 – 13 victory over Bowral at Gerry Cappetta Oval. In posting their fourteenth straight win of their unbeaten season, the Wombats now hold a commanding fourteen point lead at the top of the table with four matches to play.

The early stages of a keenly contested first forty minutes of the Round 14 match was played at pace with Bowral having the better of the first twenty minutes of play. With the benefit of six straight penalties the Blacks were able to dominate possession and field position but found it impossible to break through what is proving to be the competitions best defensive structure. A penalty goal to fly half Lachlin Huntington was all Bowral had to show for virtually twenty minutes camped in the Wombat half on the back of strong play from their forwards led by front rowers Todd Pearce, Mark Minter and Manu Feilo’ivao.

In the twenty first minute of the match impressive Wombat Silipa Tuigamala, playing in the centres this week, scored the first of his three tries for the day. With the Wombats putting on a well worked backline play after a scrum just in their own half, blind side winger Blake Spencer took an inside pass from Andre Itula and broke through the Bowral line. He found Tuigamala in support and sent the centre away on a forty metre run to the line. Tuigamala converted the try for an Avondale 7 – 3 lead.

Tuigamala’s second try was a long range effort as well with both the Wombat wingers combining to put the goal kicker away. The younger of the Tuigamala brothers, Mani, playing on the right wing joined the Wombat backline in another set play and burst through from sixty out before finding Spencer in support again down the left. Spencer drew the defence and took a heavy knock as he set Silipa Tuigamala on his way to the line for try number two, which Tuigamala converted for a 14 – 3 lead.

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The Rogues Rant

RoguesRantWelcome to The Rogues Rant, an occasional look at all things Rugby.

Well the Lions did a good job on the All Blacks last week restricting them to penalty goals only with a strong defensive effort now setting up a mouth-watering final test at Eden Park, Aukland. The Lions showed a lot of composure throughout the match which Sunny Bill Williams made a little easier for them with his dumb tackle, say no more. He certainly got what he deserved given the recent edicts regarding high tackles let alone no arm tackles. The Lions will need to work on their discipline though, so they won’t give Beauden Barrett the chance to kick them out of the game again. Leading 18 – 9 with twenty three to go it looked like the All Blacks would get away with the match after playing a man down for the most part. Two late tries and the ice man Owen Farrell kicking that goal in the 77th minute to snatch the match away for the Lions, they now have the chance to go home with a series win. On the tele at 5.30PM on Saturday from Eden Park.

It’s a commendable action from the IDRU Board to declare amateur status for Illawarra Rugby. Starting in 2018 clubs will not be allowed to pay players to play in any IDRU competition. There have been plenty of issues in Sydney Suburban Rugby over the years as a result of clubs getting out of control with player payments to the detriment of the Subbies competition. Subbies has had amateur status now for several seasons with at least one club being rubbed out for paying players with club officials and coaches also suspended from any involvement in Rugby. It’s a big call to make but the IDRU Board is to be congratulated for having the strength of their convictions. They are adamant that this is the way to go for the future sake of Illawarra Rugby. Everyone needs to remember though that in this day and age it is very hard for a young bloke to be able to make the sought of commitment to sport of any kind and maintain a job and income at the same time. It’s certainly not as easy as it was in the 1970’s and 80’s. Getting paid to play rugby makes the difference for a lot players to be able to participate given the state of the job opportunities these days. I reckon we will see a reduction in player numbers initially with this policy but hopefully we will be able to maintain the current club numbers across the district.

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Board Declares IDRU Amateur from 2018

illawarrarugbylogoThe IDRU Board of Directors has taken the bold step to declare that all competitions it administers will have amateur status from the commencement of the 2018 season and beyond. The new policy was announced recently and discussed with all clubs at the last IDRU Rugby Committee meeting in June. The Board wanted to give all clubs plenty of time to review the new policy and make the required adjustments to their practises in time for the 2018 season.

The Board expressed their concern for the long term viability of our competition expressing that it felt that the payment of individual players is against the ethos of our game, and threatens the sustainability of the IDRU competition. The Board has observed the negative issues caused by widespread payment of players within other competitions, namely the Sydney Suburban Rugby competition, and wishes to avoid similar problems in the Illawarra.

The basic essence of the new policy is that individual players are not to be paid. The Board actively encourages clubs to invest in quality coaching staff, club and ground facilities, modern equipment, training methods etc.. Clubs are expected to follow these rules, along with all IDRU Competition Rules. The IDRU Judiciary will be responsible for adjudicating on breaches and imposing penalties commensurate with the new policy.

All clubs have been supplied with a full statement of the policy and a comprehensive explanation document outlining the full range of what is unacceptable behaviour in respect of which is likely to attract disciplinary action by the Board.

In a statement distributed to all clubs IDRU President Peter Woods stated “ Member clubs entrust the Board to administer our competition and make important decisions. We believe that this is one of the more important decisions the Board has made in recent years, and we have not made it lightly. Future IDRU Boards will obviously have ability to judge the success of this decision, though your current board is confident that this is the correct approach”.

The new policy will be included as part of the wider competition rules, effective from Round 1 of the 2018 season.


Avondale Thrash Defending Premiers

MatchReportThe Avondale Wombats have made their most emphatic statement of the year handing out a 53 – 14 thrashing to IDRU defending Premiers University. In a completely dominate first half performance in which the Wombats crossed for six tries, the Bulls had no answer to the power game of the competition leaders. With big forwards Anthony Amone, Steven Fuka and Shane Makea charging forward University were totally outmuscled as Avondale set up a match winning 34 – 0 half time lead.

To their credit the Bulls came out after the break and put plenty of pressure on the Wombat defensive line but were unable to break through until the last ten minutes of the match. Avondale had added three more tries to establish a fifty three point lead before going into cruise mode over the dying stages of the match allowing the Bulls to put on two late tries.

With the Wombat forwards owning the middle of the field and having a completely dominate scrum throughout the match the Avondale attacking machine was in full swing with try doubles to Winger Blake Spencer and prop Anthony Amone. Andre Itula was outstanding out wide running at will scoring once himself and having a hand in five of the other eight Wombat tries. The performance was even more meritorious as the Wombats played most of the match without outstanding fly half Silipa Tuigamala who was once again left out of the starting side after he missed training through the week. As a second half replacement, Tuigamala scored a try himself and combined brilliantly with his captain Itula to set up Blake Spencer’s second try.

With Amone taking the side forward from the start the first try to Spencer was scored after one minute with the winger taking full advantage of the space made available to him by Itula. Minutes later after a tight head scrum win close to the Uni line, flanker Kearin Jack carried two defenders over the line after a stepping run from ten metres out. The third try came from Amone when he found himself in an attacking position out in the backline and after running more like a centre he scored the sides third try after twenty minutes play.

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The Rogues Rant

RoguesRantWelcome to The Rogues Rant, an occasional look at all things Rugby.

We witnessed an amazing game of football last week up at Bowral. Thirteen tries scored in a 47 – 46 win by Vikings over the home side. Scoring seven tries to Vikings six, Bowral’s goal kickers put over five from eight while Blueys smart halfback Tommy Sawden booted seven from nine, including three crucial second half penalties to pinch the win. Looking at the stats you would think that there wasn’t much tackling going on. It’s fair to say that there were a few pretty soft tries scored as both sides were guilty of defensive errors, but in general the defense of both sides was well up to standard. We had two very well prepared sides willing to play an attacking brand of rugby and attack they did resulting in some very well executed tries. The three tries put on by big Bowral winger Tom Mooney were outstanding efforts that almost got the Blacks home. The Blueys try scored by their wingman Cheyne Pike will go down as one of the tries of the year. The game was a thriller played in front of a very healthy crowd proving that Rugby is well and truly alive again in the Southern Highlands.

The June Tests for the Wallabies showed that the side has a lot of work to do if they are going to make anything of this year’s Rugby Championships. The South Africans have had three strong wins over France and the All Blacks are giving the Lions plenty to think about with two Tests still to come. Argentina have had a pretty good run in June as well with two narrow losses to England and a sound win over Georgia during the Super Rugby break. The Wallabies tried their hardest to allow the Italians to get an historic win at Suncorp but thankfully for a very well taken try at the death by Reece Hodge the Aussies got out of trouble. Some highlights of the series of Tests was the form of Carmichael Hunt, Bernard Foley and the amazingly talented Israel Folau.

The Australian Schools Championships are on this week at Riverview College in Sydney. Teams from NSW (2), Qld (2), ACT, Victoria, Western Australia and a Combined States Team will be competing at the titles. The games get underway on Monday with the finals scheduled for Saturday 8th July after which the Australian Schoolboys Squad will be announced for matches later in the year against Fiji and New Zealand. The Internationals will be played in late September at Knox Grammar School in Wahroonga.

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