Rugby in some parts has a bad reputation. From fighting, cheating, stealing, un-sportsman like behavior....the list goes on. This I believe is a cause by a number of factors. Referee's, coaching and player conduct. If we want to improve the reputation we need a zero tolerance on the field of play.
Lets start with referee's, just recently Zanzar have just come out with an acknowledgment that they have errors in their disciplinary methods. There are so many incidents on the rugby field that go unpunished and this starts with the small stuff that needs to be rectified. If a player pushes another player the decision should be reversed and a penalty awarded. If a player other than the Captain questions the referee, warning should be given followed with a yellow card. Look how the spear tackle has almost been abolished in rugby with the only option a red card. Anything other than a red card will defeat the purpose of the law. Referee's should see the law book and do what it says. That is what will stop all the problems on the field.
Talking to some referee's, they like to think that if a player does not affect play in any way that play should continue. Lets give an example....a loose forward does not bind onto the scrum, if that player in not penalized, he will continue to do so. The team attacking therefore is at a disadvantage because they do not run that channel because of the player not binding until the ball is out. With that, the player who is off side and the referee thinks has no part in the game, until he makes the tackle at the corner flag and stops a try. Had he been bound at the scrum, he would not have saved the try.
Another great introduction for referee's is to manage the line outs, what a load of garbage. The coaches responsibility is to teach his players the law and the referee is to adjudicate those laws. If a coach studies up and makes the effort to teach his players the law, then by the referee managing the lineout only helps the lazy coach. The only way to improve rugby is to blow the laws and not teach them on the field, players and coaches will learn very fast.
Referees are killing the game. There are some great referee's, unfortunately there is not enough of them to go around, so clubs have to put up with what they get. Referee's who have been involved in rugby for 5 years now seem to think they are better than rugby and try to control the game rather than trying to be invincible on the field. Referees should use the law "un-sportsman like conduct" more.
Law changes seem to be held as a secret by referee's. Any new laws should be sent out to all registered coaches and registered clubs where they have an opportunity to ask some questions. Instead these laws are introduced at the game.......very frustrating for coaches.
Players know when they are being dirty and will continue to do so until caught. If the referee does nothing, then these players continue until the opposition start doing the same thing and problems start. If a player shoulder charges, yellow card. If a player holds another player, yellow card, if another player pushes another, yellow card, high tackles, yellow card together with a penalty. Rugby is a physical game and that should remain until the whistle goes. Referee's need to get harder on foul play. If a player intentionally tries to stop the opposition from quickening the game up, yellow card. Kicking, punching, abuse to referee - banned from rugby. See what that will do to rugby. Referees need to stop the bully's on the field. Coaches need to also help. Play hard not dirty.
Players, this is a great sport and the laws need to be followed. Instead of trying to break the laws and get away with dirty play, STOP the crap, play rugby and help to promote the game of rugby with good sportsmanship and not being a hooligans.
Coaches, set the example, do not teach dirty play. Learn to lose with integrity. If you lose the game because they are a better side acknowledge it, use your loss to improve your coaching skills and if you do not have the athletes, then do not try and win the game by being dirty. Play within the laws of the game.
Rugby is a great game, work hard, get fit and learn the laws, work on the basics and you will do well.
Lets make rugby a better sport, improve the game and get rid of the reputations that come along with rugby.
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