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Law discussion: Hogg's cards

Tue, 18 Mar 2014 20:27
Stuart-hogg-scotland-carded Jerome-garces-gestures

Ref should first have consulted the TMO

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Don't ever believe that you have seen it all. the incident involving the upgrading of the sanction on Stuart Hogg of Scotland is possibly unique in the annals of Test rugby.

Dan Biggar of Wales kicks the ball. Scott Hogg of Scotland bangs into him. The referee is a metre of so from the action but looking at the back of Hogg with Biggar on the other side of Hogg.

Biggar appears to have been knocked groggy in the incident. The contact was late and unnecessary as Biggar's kicking foot was back on the ground when Hogg made contact with him.

The referee immediately penalised Hogg and gave him a yellow card, telling him that his action had been deliberate.

It took some time to attend to Biggar and during that time the Big Screen showed the action. The referee then had a chance to see what had happened - to see Hogg jumping up to lift his left shoulder into Biggar's head. The referee then has Hogg brought back to the field and changes the colour of the card to red. Hogg went off, and he was possibly Scotland's best player.

Hogg deserved the sending off that the red card demanded, but the manner of its execution is worth a bit of explanation and debate. debate

Is the referee allowed to change his mind/decision?

Law 6.A.5 REFEREE ALTERING A DECISION
The referee may alter a decision when a touch judge has raised the flag to signal touch.
The referee may alter a decision when an assistant referee has raised the flag to signal touch or an act of foul play.

An assistant referee does not obviously act in this case, which is not the same that he does not act. But then the recording on the Big Screen is an allowed aid to a referee and in fact the referee may well consult the TMO before sending Hogg off. It is just not obvious.

The use of the TMO has changed this year as part of a global trial. In relation to this decision there are some salient points.

Global Trial Law 6.A.6 Referee Consulting With Others

(a) The referee may consult with assistant referees about matters relating to their duties, the Law relating to foul play or timekeeping and may request assistance related to other aspects of the referees duties including the adjudication of offside.
(b) A match organiser may appoint an official known as a Television Match (TMO) Official who uses technological devices to clarify situations relating to;

v. Reviewing situations where match officials believe foul play may have occurred.

vi. Clarifying sanctions required for acts of foul play.

The referee is responsible for the final decision and he is encouraged to study the replays of the action on the Big Screen.

Additional jurisdiction protocol guiding principles

The TMO is a tool to help Referee and AR’s. The Referee should not be a subservient to the system. The referee is responsible for managing the TMO process.

• The Referee is the decision- maker and must remain in charge of the Game

• Any relevant information taken into consideration must be CLEAR and OBVIOUS

• The application of the TMO system must be credible and consistent protecting the image of the game

The other match officials may utilise the in stadium screens (where available) to form a judgement.

There is something specific on foul play and doubt about the appropriateness of the sanction to be applied - the last one in 4.1.

4. Potential acts of foul play

4.1. The match officials may suggest that the referee refers the matter to the TMO for review if they observe an act of foul play where:

* They may have only partially observed an act or acts of foul play

* They are unsure of the exact circumstances

* The views of the match officials reporting the act(s) of foul play differ

* There is doubt as to the appropriate sanctions to be applied

In this case the eventual decision was clearly and obviously the right one. It may well have been far more prudent if the referee had first consulted the TMO and then reached the decision. In this case chance - the hiatus while Biggar was attended to - enabled the referee to come to the right decision. To have controlled that himself would have been better than leaving it to chance.


The referee got the place of the penalty 100% right. When Biggar kicked the ball he was about 15 metres inside his half. The ball alighted about eight metres inside the Scottish half. That is correct for a late tackle. Wales would have had  the choice of a penalty where Biggar kicked the ball and where the ball landed. The choice was obvious.

It may have been strange that Biggar was not subject to a pitch-side concussion assessment. Instead he kicked the penalty goal.

 

 

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