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VIDEO – Twitter Q&A with Wayne Barnes and JP Doyle

12 December 2013

  • Watch Wayne Barnes and JP Doyle answer fans' Twitter questions
  • Scrum laws, stadiums and karaoke all covered

We handed over the @Official_RFU Twitter channel to RFU referees Wayne Barnes and JP Doyle so they could answer your questions. Here’s what they came up with.

Ken Sutton – @KenSutz
What is the most intimidating atmosphere you’ve refereed in? Also any tips for a ref coming back into the game?

Wayne Barnes: First of all it’s great to have him back in the game, he’s obviously been away for a while. Keep your boots on would be my advice – #keepyourbootson. In terms of intimidating grounds, there are some great venues that you get to referee at. The Millennium Stadium for me is an absolutely fantastic environment, especially when the roof is hut and you have 80,000 Welsh people singing. Clermont is brilliant for Heineken Cup games and in the southern hemisphere you have places like Brisbane – anyone who went down there for the Lions will know what a cracking stadium that is. England are playing Italy this year in the Olympic Stadium, too. All of these places are different, but great.

Richard Jones – @jonesyrt
Do you think the new scrum laws are helping you to manage ‘not straight’ and early drives?

JP Doyle: The scrum laws are taking a little bit of time to bed in but generally we are seeing a huge reduction, statistically, in the amount of collapses. Sometimes we are getting more standing up, but that’s safer for the players. The front rows are talking to us about how their necks are backs aren’t quite as sore on a Monday morning as well.

JP Doyle

Photo: Getty Images

A big help for us this year has been the packs coming together when we say set, rather than having a massive hit. There’s more stability, we get a chance to sort the binds and it slows everything down and gives the players a chance to adjust, not drop the scrum and get their feet underneath them. Then we get to see the big one – whether the ball goes in straight, which we should be doing everytime.

WB: We’re getting better at it.

JPD: I think most people would agree we still have a lot of work to do on that one.

WB: At Bath versus Exeter last week there was a scrummage where the ball was in the tunnel for 14 seconds.

JPD: It would have helped if the ball had been hooked, but it’s great that was in the middle nice and straight.

Liam Staines – @MrLStaines
Are there any unusual laws of the game you have never had to use? What is the least used law of the game?

WB: You said that a player can score a try without being on the pitch. Explain that to me.

JPD: It’s a bit weird. If the ball is in goal and nobody has it – for example if it’s been kicked forward and two wingers are chasing it – players have the right to run outside the field of play to get to in goal. He can then slide on the ground and touch the ball down.

Wayne Barnes

Photo: Getty Images

He’s not actually in possession of the ball, so very little of his body has to be in play, but as soon as he touches it, it becomes a try through downward pressure. It’s a bit of an anomaly in the laws. When we do see it, it’ll be for an away team at a packed ground somewhere and we’ll have to give a very strange – but correct – decision.

WB: I’ve seen that once. It was down in Wales. The player was lying across the dead-ball line the ball bounced back into in-goal. It hadn’t gone dead, so he reached and dotted the ball down. It looked atrocious, but the TMO got it right.

Hannah Beesley – @hjbees
What’s your karaoke song?

JPD: I try to avoid it, because although I like to think I’ve got a nice Irish accent at times, my singing voice is actually deplorable. I guess if I had to sing, it’d be 'Everybody Needs Somebody' by the Blues Brothers... with the shades and hat on to cover my face as much as possible.

WB: My wife’s the singer in the family – she sings at City of London choir – but my karaoke song used to be a fantastic Barry Manilow number, 'Mandy'… then Westlife covered it. Now it would have to be a Whitney Houston classic – ‘Greatest Love.’