Top refs meet at Lensbury
Spotlight on post-tackle, scrum
Nineteen of the top referees on the IRB international panels will meet at the Lensbury Conference Centre, London, on 2-3 November to discuss current trends in the game and to look at ways to improve refereeing in crucial areas of the game.
The crucial areas highlighted are the tackle/ruck, maul and scrum.
With 14 countries playing in Europe in November the IRB has also invited senior coaching representatives from these countries to attend the first workshop of the conference.
Eddie Jones the Australian coach will lead the workshop on the tackle/ruck and maul.
Syd Millar, the IRB chairman, said: “The modern game of rugby is evolving very quickly and there is no question that today’s players are bigger, faster and stronger. The point of contact at the tackle is now more physical, the speed of players to the tackle is exceptional and the fight for possession at the tackle is very confrontational."
Millar added: “Even though the IRB has a four year moratorium between Rugby World Cups in terms of law changes this does not stop us reviewing the appropriateness of certain laws and ensuring the laws are refereed and applied correctly. There is no doubt that the tackle and post tackle area of the game cause most discussion among those in the game and the IRB is keen to ensure that areas such as cleaning out, offside at the breakdown and dangerous tackling are properly policed according to the Laws of the game.
“The annual Lensbury meeting of international referees is the appropriate forum to address the current issues we have on the field. The conference agenda was drawn up a couple of weeks ago, and I believe the conference will greatly assist in setting the appropriate guidelines for the next 12 months."
As part of the treatment of the tackle, the referees at the Lensbury Conference will be told that offenders who tackle dangerously are to be dealt with severely. Millar and the IRB's press release specifically mentioned the spear tackle and Millar referred particularly to the tackle on Brian O'Driscoll.
Mike Croon, All Black scrumming coach, will address the referees on scrum management and the other main area to be looked at during the two-day conference will be the line-out, now a very contestable area that has brought its own problems for the referee to control.
Countries had earlier been given certain law topics in which to experiment and come up with recommendations. South Africa did experiments on the line-out and Argentina did experiments on the scrums.