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Thorb's Referee Rankings #3 Posted about 5 years ago

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Photo: Jeanfrancois Beausejour, Monaco

LEADERBOARD

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

RANK REFEREE AVERAGE SCORE
1 J KAPLAN 7.0
2 W BARNES 7.0
3 B LAWRENCE 6.85
4 C JOUBERT 6.85
5 A ROLLAND 6.85
6 N OWENS 6.67
7 R POITE 6.33
8 S WALSH 6.17
9 G CLANCY 6.17
10 D PEARSON 6.0

Week Three

GAME SCORE REFEREE SCORE
ITALY v RUSSIA 53-17 W BARNES 7.5/10
JAPAN v TONGA 18-31 D PEARSON 6.0/10
SOUTH AFRICA v NAMIBIA 87-0 G CLANCY 6.0/10
AUSTRALIA v USA 67-5 N OWENS 7.0/10
ENGLAND v ROMANIA 67-3 R POITE 6.5/10
NEW ZEALAND v FRANCE 37-17 A ROLLAND 7.5/10
FIJI v SAMOA 7-27 B LAWRENCE 7.0/10
IRELAND v RUSSIA 62-12 C JOUBERT 7.0/10
ARGENTINA v SCOTLAND 13-12 W BARNES 7.0/10
WALES v NAMIBIA 81- 7 S WALSH 6.0/10

ITALY v RUSSIA – W BARNES
7.5/10

  1. Scrums were totally dominated by Italy. So much pressure from the Italian no. 3 boring in and disrupting Russian scrum. Early on,Russian hooker was “popped” by the concerted pressure.
  2. Russian ball scrum turning around more that 90 degrees was not pulled up at least twice.
  3. Later in game replacement Italian no. 8 did slingshots at scrum engagement.
  4. Finally Italy awarded a penalty try. However I accept it is not referees responsibility at this level to protect weaker scrums.
  5. Called the 10 offside penalty to Russia.
  6. A little lenient on Italy around the breakdown, Italian players allowed to go round and take opponents out when Italy had control of the ball.
  7. Excellent calling of 5 second law at the maul.
  8. A difficult game to referee with one scrum so dominant, Barnes but handled the game very well.
  9. Kelvin Deakers public statement that the so called “Minnows” seemed to be on the receiving end of marginal calls. My observation seemed to confirm this, many times Italy “got away” with infringements around the post tackle and breakdown area.
  10. In my view in the top 3-4 referees on show to date.
  11. Firm, accurate and clear in comments; if a little serious in his demeanour.
  12. His control of the game is firm but relaxed and he has awarded the least number of penalties of the 10 referees doing 2 games each so far, 15.5 per game.

JAPAN v TONGA – D PEARSON
6.0/10

  1. At the scrum he was clear early about Props lining up head to head. 4 resets and only 3 of the 27 penalties were at the scrum.
  2. As with many of the games I am not sure of how much input is required of assistant referees. I would observe, that is not very much at this tournament (as it was in France in 2007.)
  3. Calls use it when ball at back of Japan scrum, sensible as Japan scrum was under pressure.
  4. Suspect that referees often”guess” with scrum penalties as who really knows who caused the collapse and/or accentuated “wheel”.
  5. 16 of 27 penalties awarded were awarded at breakdown.
  6. Tonga’s counter rucking-players often ended up off feet in front of ball, sealing and bridging. But picks Japan up for same.
  7. Would appear that direction has been given for increased concentration on ball carriers at post tackle. This is fair enough IF it is consistently applied.
  8. Good calling of offside players at kick chase and counter attack.
  9. Tonga pulled maul down AFTER set at lineout when Japan was in a possible scoring position.
  10. Yellow card on Arlidge was very harsh as it was dubious if he was offside as a Tongan players had his hands on the ball in back of ruck.

SOUTH AFRICA v NAMIBIA – G CLANCY
6.0/10

  1. Scrum was difficult to referee as Namibia scrum was under constant pressure.
  2. Seemed to get it wrong when Smit popped up, instead penalising Namibia.
  3. It is not the referees job to protect weaker (or poorer techniqued) scrums. Smart scrums will promote the appropriate side of scrum to obtain penalties. Elements of guesswork as to who turned scrums but Namibia got all the blame.
  4. Inconsistent calls at Breakdown regarding players coming in at side, sealing and off feet work.
  5. 10m offside in front of kicker, called one and missed one. Both by Namibia.
  6. Poor application of advantage law when a slight inconsequential accidental offside was pulled up and scrum awarded to Boks. Nobody was within a bulls roar of being deprived of access to ball or ball carrier.
  7. This game was another example of the Kelvin Deaker Syndrome, that is Tier 2 teams not getting many “Rub of THE GREEN” decisions.
  8. Very severe on Namibia at ruck and maul, 10 of 15 penalties awarded against Namibia were at this phase where as Boks had only 4 of 6.

AUSTRALIA v USA – N OWENS
7.0/10

  1. Called penalty to Austualia in first scrum against USA prop. No nonsense approach with early show of intent.
  2. Calls marginal skewed lineout throw by USA. Many more crooked throws have been allowed so far in this tournament.
  3. Once again I am uncertain to what degree the assistant referees are expected to be “Involved”.
  4. Got good consistency at breakdowns, few penalties but ball re-cycled well.
  5. Only one 10 m offside called against USA in front of kick. This had no material effect in this game.
  6. Consistent, did not try to “even” the game up.
  7. Again serious countenance, but very clear and firm-players knew where they “stood”

ENGLAND v ROMANIA – R POITE
6.5/10

  1. 23 Penalties; 13 at ruck and maul, 4 at scrum, 2 at offside and 2 “others”.
  2. Good flow to game, his style was unobtrusive.
  3. Calls obstruction on England at maul which was legitimate.
  4. Also applies the Kelvin Deaker hypothesis that the Minnows very often do not get the “Rub of the Green” rulings at breakdown and other marginal phases. An example of this was when England had hands in the ruck to win the ball and score try.
  5. Pulled up England once for obstruction at re-start ball receipts and then ignored it.
  6. Runs good lines to keep in line with play.

NEW ZEALAND v FRANCE – A ROLLAND
7.5/10

  1. 4 scrum resets, with 3 penalties to New Zealand and 2 to France.
  2. Manner and demeanour was excellent, especially being able to converse in French.
  3. Allowed a fair contest at the breakdown.
  4. Good use of advantage laws.
  5. Fewer penalties than his average in previous 2 matches, with only 18 this game versus his average of 25 in his first 2 outings.
  6. Unusual sequence of events leading in to French try at end of game. Seems to have got it badly wrong, still talking to players while France restarted play from an incorrect mark.
  7. Played an important role in a very good spectacle.

FIJI v SAMOA – B LAWRENCE
7.0/10

  1. Very physical contest, awarded just 15 penalties compared to his average of 23 in his previous 2 games.
  2. 6 resets as opposed to an average of 16 in his previous 2 games. This may have been the result of a better use of cadence.
  3. Once again not certain of input from assistant referees as skewed lineout throws were not picked up?
  4. Firm comments to players at first scrum and his penchant for “over refereeing” scrums was not as apparent. Fiji loosehead Mafu;s poor technique was picked up for not taking a bind at all. However Lawrence missed him using his elbow on his knee for leveridge.
  5. Freekick for skewed scrum “put in” caused no harm but gave a warning. This was a good procedure.
  6. Very mobile at getting into a strong position to make calls.
  7. Plays advantage accurately and consistently.
  8. Good performance in potentially difficult game.

IRELAND v RUSSIA – C JOUBERT
7.0/10

  1. Just 1 scrum reset, due to good feel and application of cadence. Least scrum resets of all the referees so far.
  2. Rulings at breakdown averaging 12 penalties per game. This is third lowest of all referees but again not strong enough on players going around and holding on opposition players.
  3. Allowed Ireland a “quick” throw after a lineout had formed, ending up with Ireland scoring.
  4. Another Kelvin Deaker episode with Cullen playing a Russian player in the air at lineout which was not called.
  5. Calm and unflappable demeanour helps game to “flow”.

ARGENTINA v SCOTLAND – W BARNES
7.0/10

  1. 20 penalties versus an average of 15 in his previous 2 games.
  2. This was a rugged very evenly matched “contest” similar in intensity to the Springboks v Wales game, although not of the same standard.
  3. Obviously there has been a directive regarding using injuries as a time to recover and regather as has become prevalent in the game.
  4. Barnes was put in a very difficult position when Fernandez Lobbe suffered what appeared to be a serious injury and play came back to and very nearly over the top of the attendants and him.
  5. The tackle “Law” was put to the test when 2 Argentinians held a Scottish player (with the ball) in what appeared to be a maul situation. A penalty was awarded to Scotland (took them out 6-3) when at no time did the Argentinians bodies or knees appear to come into contact with the ground.
  6. Handled the slipping of grips by props with sensibility, given the difficulty of getting the first grip on the modern jerseys.
  7. Calm and apparently unflappable manner was once again beneficial to the spectacle.

WALES v NAMIBIA – S WALSH
6.0/10

  1. 6 scrum resets in this game. Compared with the average of all referees in all games (5.3) this is the second highest of all 10 referees.
  2. 9 scrum infringements making his average 6.7 per game, the highest of all 10 referees.
  3. 22 Penalties awarded which right on average.
  4. 8 Penalties at the ruck, averaging 10 per game.
  5. Inconsistent at breakdown with players off feet, including some Kelvin Deaker rullings.
  6. Authoritarian demeanour and communication with players.
  7. Good mobility and keeping up with play.

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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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