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Dave Broadwell was a full time employee of the RFU as a Referee Manager for 16 years until he retired in December 2012. In his refereeing career he briefly attained current Premiership standard before specialising as an Assistant Referee in Premiership and European appointments.
Always keen on law discussions he has remained on the RFU Laws Committee and continues as a qualified RFU Trainer to deliver Referee courses.
Within the Society he is the current Chairman of Training and Development and in 2016 has formed a team to lead the Society Development Squad.
When asked about answering law questions he said “for new referees it is often difficult to find the correct answer or advice so I am happy to assist anyone who seeks knowledge. The easiest position to referee from is sitting in an armchair in front of a TV. I will answer law questions but never offer an opinion on referee performances; they have their own individual coaches and managers to do that”.
Refereeing the Scrum Engagement
To summarise, the engagement procedures are all about good timing, and not moving from one phase until compliance at each stage.
Stage 1 crouch, stay with that stage until both sides are almost (there is room for slight discrepancy) at the same level. Square and stationary is what to observe.
Stage 2 bind, short or long but not on arms or pulling shirts down at chest level., again square and stationary, not on head to head but ear to ear is acceptable, gap not too great hookers up to, but not over your mark and each to the left,
Stage 3 set, when square and stationary, signal to the 9 and ensure the ball is thrown in so at a minimum part of that ball MUST touch the imaginary middle line. It is essential that there is no forward movement prior to a front row hooking the ball back.
On the latter point do not waver from a legal throw in as to be frank referees at every level have historically abrogated the legal aspects. This is an opportunity for the game at large to take on change.
Finally, I have received several e-mails about where should the penalty, or free kick, especially a quick one be taken from a scrum offence. Think that no side should take an advantage, so the back of the scrum is fine, the side not ahead of the tunnel is also fine. As is all cases safety is always a priority, so in the case of a collapsed scrum ensure the front rows are uninjured before allowing play. In open play do not be slide rule pedantic in where the penalty should be taken, allow quick play as long as it’s not taken well in front of the mark. At the same time be aware of the taker seeking further advancement by deliberately running into an opponent.
Head on over to the Society YouTube Channeland watch the excellent Scrum Presentation from Wayne Barnes/Phil Keith Roach, from the February Central Meeting.
Law Q & A
If you have any law queries, please email Dave - see above - your emails need not be confined to just published questions but any law questions or management issues.
Q1. A ball carrier runs back into his in-goal between the goal posts and the 15-metre line. He then runs towards the nearer touch but is tackled and grounds the ball in in-goal in line with the 5-metre line. Your call?
A1. Attacking scrum in line with the grounding in in-goal.
Q2. Blues throw long into a lineout. Their back pod retreats infield and jacks up their jumper who catches the ball twenty metres from the touchline. Red 7 has retreated with them and moves between them and their 9, then catches the pass from the jumper to Blue 9. What do you do?
A2. Play on - open play. Lineout over, Blue have not created a maul.
Q3. Blues have been awarded a penalty kick and kick for goal. The ball hits a goal post and is caught directly from the post by Red 15 who is two metres in front of the goal line. He calls a mark. Your call?
A3. Award the mark. (Hitting the post does not negate the mark.)
Q4. A player goes to ground and immediately releases the ball. How long before he may tackle an opponent?
A4. Not until he gets up from the ground.
Q5. After a kicker has been obstructed, the ball lands in in-goal, ten metres from touch-in-goal and bounces into touch-in-goal. Your call?
A5. At the choice of the non-offending team, penalty kick at place of obstruction or five metres from the goal line and fifteen metres from the touchline.
Email your law queries to Dave Broadwell here