Understanding referees signals (Strictly for rugby geeks)

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Sep 162015

I was once asked to produce a handout of signals so that people could understand exactly what was going on when a referee makes a decision. With our resident referee George Clancy in camp for the next fifty days or so I stumbled across this on a tweet by Nigel Owens earlier this evening and thought I should share it.

Well wales online have managed to do what I didn’t, churning out a set of explanations from referee Nigel Owens:

Here they are and you can save a link to this page to study if you are the geeky type or you can save the link on your phone for a quick peek whenever you get stuck or just want to show off your vast knowledge of the game to lesser mortals standing alongside you against the railing 🙂


The signals in full


Nigel Owens referee signal

When you’re tackled, and go to ground, you must do three or four things with the ball. You can either release it immediately, you can place it in any direction, or you can pass it off the floor, or roll it back. But if you hold on which slows play down, that’s a penalty.


Nigel Owens referee signal

In rugby the game is played on your feet. If you go off your feet deliberately, in the contact area for example, then it’s a penalty.


Nigel Owens referee signal

If a referee suspects a player has become concussed, and would like him to get checked, then he calls the medic with a head check signal.


Nigel Owens referee signal

This is something quite new that has been creeping into the game. It’s dangerous play where players grab an opponent by the neck in a maul or contact area to take them out, or grab them round the neck to twist them out of the contact area. This should not be happening because it’s very dangerous play.

So that’s classed as a high tackle, dangerous. That is to be penalised and clamped down upon.

This neck roll/neck grab has pretty much replaced what used to be known as the spear tackle.


Nigel Owens referee signal

This is awarded for an infringement which is deemed to be not as deliberate as a penalty offence.


Nigel Owens referee signal

That would be, for example, if a scrum-half feeds the ball not straight at the scrum… although a lot of people would say that’s deliberate.


Nigel Owens referee signal

The hooker having his foot up before the ball comes into the scrum is another free kick.


Nigel Owens referee signal

The ball must be thrown down the middle, which we call straight. If it’s thrown down to one side more than the other, which makes it an unfair contest, then it’s not straight. Scrum or lineout to the opposition, their captain’s call.


Nigel Owens referee signal

A penalty is awarded for a deliberate infringement, ie something other than a knock-on, forward pass or an accidental offside.


Nigel Owens referee signal

Players must be on their feet in the ruck. They can only use their feet to ruck the ball back, so any player who uses his hands after the ruck is formed will be penalised.


Nigel Owens referee signal

There are different offside lines in the game. You have an offside at the ruck and maul, which is the hind-most foot and that line goes right across the width of the field.

At lineouts, the offside line for players not in the lineout is 10m back, and from scrums it’s five metres back from the feet of the number eight. If anybody encroaches those offisde lines, then they get penalised.


Nigel Owens referee signal

Once you are tackled, the ball carrier must place the ball and make an attempt to roll away. The tackler must release the ball carrier and then roll away from that area if possible, too.


The front row must bind straight and drive square. They must not drive lower than the hips, or push the scrum up. If you pull the scrum down, you get penalised.


Nigel Owens referee signal

When we go to the TMO, which is quite often these days, it’ll be a TV signal. And as TVs are square at the moment, the signal is square.


Nigel Owens referee signal

These days, you often see two people tackle the ball carrier. Once the ball carrier has gone to ground, the player who remains on his feet and is still in contact with him must release him before regathering the ball. if he doesn’t, then we call that assist tackler not releasing and that’s a penalty offence.


Nigel Owens referee signal

You must make an attempt to tackle the opponent below the line of the shoulder and neck. If you don’t, it’s a high tackle.


When you enter a tackle at a ruck or maul, you must enter form behind the hind-most foot of your own players in that phase of play. If you enter in front, that’s regarded as side entry and will be penalised.


George Clancy gets England V France in Twickenham.

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Feb 162011

George Clancy now officiates between England and FranceMajor kudos this week for George Clancy, following on from his officiating between Scotland and Wales last weekend in Murrayfield, the IRB announced yesterday that Bruff RFC  referee George will now take over from Steve Walsh as the man in the middle between England and France in Twickenham on saturday week.

(Excerpt from IRB website)

Walsh, who was due to take charge of England v France at Twickenham on February 26, has been withdrawn to concentrate on his rehabilitation from a knee cartilage injury.

Walsh is now back in full training but will be replaced for the fixture by Ireland’s George Clancy, who will be taking charge of his 16th match since making his international debut in 2006.

With Rugby World Cup 2011 rapidly approaching Walsh will be given a further opportunity of time in the middle during the RBS Six Nations, replacing Ireland’s Alain Rolland, who refereed the opening match in the Championship, for the Scotland v Italy fixture at Murrayfield on March 19.

Congrats are due to all of our referees, who are officiating in various capacities this coming weekend,
Padraig Keogh is TJ2 at the Div. 1a game between Garryowen and St. Mary’s,
Derrick Noonan is refereeing the Munster Junior Cup game between Cashel and St. Mary’s in Cashel,
James Spenser and Con O’ Regan are both taking charge of Pan Munster U19 games on Sunday, James at Derryknockane and Con at Scariff and Grant Sillet is out officiating the U13 game between Clanwilliam and Cashel.

George Clancy gets Magners Semi-Final

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May 122010

Bruff referee George Clancy will take charge of the first semi-final between the Ospreys and Glasgow Warriors at the Liberty Stadium, Swansea, on Friday night (7.05pm).
Welsh official Nigel Owens has been named as the referee for Saturday night’s crunch Magners League semi-final clash between Leinster and Munster at the RDS (8pm).

Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors:

Referee: George Clancy (Ireland – 36th Magners League game)
Assistant Referees: Dudley Phillips (Ireland), Leo Colgan (Ireland)
TMO: Bertie Smith (Ireland)

Leinster v Munster:

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales – 64th Magners League game)
Assistant Referees: James Jones (Wales), Nigel Whitehouse (Wales)
TMO: Hugh Watkins (Wales)

Have a good one George

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Feb 122010

George Clancy takes charge tomorrow in the game between Wales and Scotland in the Millenium Stadium.

Have a good one George.