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Thorb's Referee Rankings #2 Posted about 5 years ago

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Photo: Jean-Francois Fournier, Monaco

LEADERBOARD

An average of each referees performance over the first two weeks of the Rugby World Cup as rated by Peter Thorburn.

RANK REFEREE AVERAGE SCORE
1 J KAPLAN 7.0
2 B LAWRENCE 6.75
3 C JOUBERT 6.75
4 N OWENS 6.5
5 A ROLLAND 6.5
6 W BARNES 6.5
7 R POITE 6.25
8 G CLANCY 6.25
9 S WALSH 6.25
10 D PEARSON 6.0

WEEK TWO

GAME SCORE REFEREE SCORE
SAMOA v NAMIBIA 25-0 R POITE 6.5/10
TONGA v CANADA 20-25 J KAPLAN 7.0/10
SCOTLAND v GEORGIA 15-6 G CLANCY 6.0/10
RUSSIA v USA 6-13 D PEARSON 6.0/10
ALL BLACKS v JAPAN 83-7 N OWENS 6.0/10
ARGENTINA v ROMANIA 43-8 S WALSH 6.5/10
SOUTH AFRICA v FIJI 49-3 R POITE 6.0/10
AUSTRALIA v IRELAND 6-15 B LAWRENCE 6.5/10
WALES v SAMOA 17-10 A ROLLAND 7.0/10
ENGLAND v GEORGIA 41-10 J KAPLAN 7.0/10
FRANCE v CANADA 46-19 C JOUBERT 7.0/10

SAMOA v NAMIBIA – R POITE
6.5/10

  1. Consistent scrum cadence. Six resets.
  2. 20 penalties, only two penalties at scrum.
  3. Referees the ruck and breakdown firmly and consistently.
  4. Poor call on P Williams for high and dangerous tackle. Replay shows not correct.
  5. Strict but fair in handling of game.
  6. Very mobile and in line with play consistently.

TONGA v CANADA – J KAPLAN
7.0/10

  1. Slow but successful scrum cadence, just two resets and few penalty free kicks for scrum offences.
  2. Hands down by props rare as cadence and pre-engagement balance was good. Early in game called props on going head to head, and from there no problems
  3. Need to be tougher on players being taken out or held around breakdown and players off feet, sealing and bridging in ball carrying team. As is occurring in most games.
  4. Consistent calling of players fringing at breakdown.
  5. Making a call on ball carrying team to release the ball allowing opposition a chance to secure, especially in two player tackles.
  6. Cool, calm and unobtrusive. When appropriate calls warnings.

SCOTLAND v GEORGIA – G CLANCY
6.0/10

  1. Not calling early lifting at lineout (very prevalent in most games).
  2. Not calling or noticing Scotland’s regular infringing at break down. The wet weather made the breakdown areas very “messy” and difficult to referee. As with a lot of the “calls” I am unsure of how much assistance the assistant referee’s are encouraged to make calls.
  3. Scotland take and hold opponents while in illegal positions – offside and/or not immediately retiring.
  4. The second player passing (behind team mates) is getting more and more “obstructive”with ball receivers up shallow behind teammates. Perhaps requiring assistant referee support.
  5. Pulling down or interfering in the air at lineouts needs more calling by referees in general.
  6. Some of the second tier teams try to play to the letter of the law and are not as good as top level teams at pushing the envelope.
  7. Quiet and firm manner with good communication and demeanor.

RUSSIA v USA – D PEARSON
6.0/10

  1. Inconsistent calls on players (especially Russians) off feet at breakdowns.
  2. Fairly lenient on slow release by tackled players.
  3. Seemed a little “harsh”on Russians at times, potentially due to language problems.
  4. Excellent manner with players but not sure the Russians got his witty comment to USA Captain about Dave’s Laundry bill. Relaxed with pleasant demeanour.
  5. Called crooked put into scrum where a warning should have sufficed as it occurred several times with both teams.
  6. Advantage law used well and fairly.
  7. Communicates and explains his calls very well.
  8. Missed “high” tackle by USA but again not sure of how much input is expected by assistant referees.
  9. Inconsistency with crooked lineout throws. Again is this the assistant referees role?

NEW ZEALAND v JAPAN – N OWENS
6.0/10

  1. Clear and decisive calls at breakdown.
  2. At scrum time he gave no leeway for hand slip off jersey. Lectures on head to head contact by props which was fair enough. Resets scrum when ball at back of scrum, where a call to “Use” it could be more desirable. Seems to like to dominate the scrum.
  3. Firm on ball carrying team at post tackle. Gives defenders some chance at getting possession, consistency with this is vital.
  4. Calls “Use it” accurately at mauls.
  5. Has a rather stilted and directional manner with players, however his consistency is good.
  6. Did not try to “Even the Game up” as can happen when one team is well on top and score is mounting.

ARGENTINA v ROMANIA – S WALSH
6.5/10

  1. Penalty count at 24 (mainly at ruck and maul) for game, about average for the tournament so far.
  2. Calls were clear and concise, players know where they stood.
  3. Allows (calls) ball to be cleared when in back of a scrum that goes down.
  4. Good application of advantage law, very consistent.
  5. More vigilance of players in at side of post tackle.
  6. Pleasant “manner” with players.
  7. Applies advantage with consistency and accuracy.

SOUTH AFRICA v FIJI – J POITE
6.0/10

  1. 16 penalties.
  2. Inconsistent at breakdown. Allowed more latitude to Brussow in post tackle, but made hard (and correct) calls on Fiji.
  3. Erratic advantage calls.
  4. Very poor call (and not called by assistant referees either) from Bok kick return when many Bok players did not even attempt to get out of the 10 across field. Resulted in a try to Fourie at crucial early stage of game, to take Boks out to 13 -3
  5. Again in the 43 minute, no offside call (worth noting that assistant referees also are paramount at this phase) This takes away a strength of counter attacking teams such as Fiji, which is dispiriting.
  6. Brussow in offside positions at breakdown was not called. This happened three times in the first half.
  7. Boks were blatantly playing the ball off their feet in front of assistant referees.
  8. Burger head high tackle not called.
  9. Fiji missed 43 tackles while the Boks missed 36. But had become very dispirited after half time.

AUSTRALIA v IRELAND – B LAWRENCE
6.5/10

  1. Strong calls at the scrum. Five penalties against Australia (these were all correct calls and only one ended in points for Ireland).
  2. Very stringent at scrum, he has always shown a desire to “over’ referee the scrum.
  3. Very accurate in calling the maul and 5 second law. Several turnovers when Ireland kept the Wallabies maul up off the ground.
  4. Allowed players around the breakdown to interfere with the opposition in behind the ruck.
  5. Did not pick up on players in front of kicker not retiring till put onside (could have been picked up by assistant referees). 10 m offside rule at kick.
  6. Very mobile and up with play.

WALES v SAMOA – A ROLLAND
7.0/10

  1. Had excellent control of what was a very physical contest.
  2. Is consistent and fair in most facets of the game.
  3. 15 of 26 penalties were at ruck and maul. A fair number for a game of this intensity.
  4. Has firm but “pleasant” communication with players.
  5. Lenient on players going around and taking players out at breakdowns.
  6. Plays advantage to the advantage of teams and spectators.

ENGLAND v GEORGIA – J KAPLAN
7.0/10

  1. Seven reset scrums, given they were two very strong competitive packs.
  2. Only three free kicks and three penalties from scrums.
  3. Good cadence and engagement timing, not many resets.
  4. Firm with the release at breakdown by ball carrying team, making it a fair contest.
  5. Plays advantage to advantage.
  6. Judicious use of yellow card for professional foul by England (Hartley).

FRANCE v CANADA – C JOUBERT
7.0/10

  1. Just three scrum resets.
  2. Again displays calm and unflappable approach.
  3. Little allowance for hand slip at scrum time.
  4. Called the 10m offside line at kick chase.
  5. Sensible and consistent attitude to the breakdown area.

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Thorb's is a former All Black selector, New Zealand Sevens coach and most recently head coach of the USA Eagles during the 2007 Rugby World Cup. He is a highly respected international coach and has been involved with the IRB coach and referee groups shaping and refining the laws of the game.

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