Welcome to the start of a new season from all at ERRS.
By the time you get round to reading this no doubt most of you will have at least a couple of matches under your belt and the novelty of explaining to flankers that "just because Richie McCaw used to do it doesn't mean you can still do it now he's retired" will be beginning to wear a little thin.
So we have new laws for this season - and lots of them too. There will inevitably be a breaking in period whilst everyone gets used to the new changes and no doubt some lively discussions in clubhouses up and down the land as to different interpretations. In a sense this is a good thing. Anything which gets people talking more about the game we love raises awareness and encourages more people to take a look for themselves.
So what else is new since my last blog:
- Pro 12 away matches in South Africa
- The setting up of a semi-pro league in Scotland
- New coaches at Edinburgh, Glasgow and Scotland
- Scotland being ranked a highest ever 5th in the World Rugby standings
- The Crabbies kit - when are we refs going to see some of the product though ?!
One thing that hasn't changed is the creeping tendency towards gamesmanship with football style diving and appealing for refs to show cards to opponents. Whether I'm in the right or the wrong I give short shrift to such behaviour and would have no hesitation in reversing a penalty if a player starts waving imaginary cards at me. If he were to transgress a second time he would be seeing a card himself ! Different opinions are of course available.........
Match official abuse is still a problem we have to live with, particularly club officials standing on touchlines shouting less than helpful "advice" which is usually wrong anyway - even in pre-season so-called friendlies as I discovered from my own personal experience. Nevertheless I was delighted to see that the Australian authorities had acted strongly in handing down a ten year ban to an 18 year old player who struck a 19 year old referee. A good number of you have no doubt seen the incident on social media.
I look forward to seeing you all at some stage during the season and hopefully at either WETS or one of our monthly meetings at Meggetland.