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Ed Morrison answers your questions: #AskEd

12 February 2013

  • Ed Morrison answers your Twitter questions
  • Answers on Haskell, scrums, pitches and more
Ed Morrison

Photo: Getty Images

After a successful career with the whistle, the RFU’s Head of Professional Referee Development Ed Morrison is well placed to answer your questions and queries about refereeing. In this first instalment of #AskEd he answers your Twitter questions.

Q. Can defenders advance as soon as scrum-half touches the ball or when he has picked it up? (Rhys Duerden, ‏@RhysaaaD)
A. Defenders can advance as soon as the scrum-half plays the ball, and touching the ball is playing the ball.

Q. Does top class rugby need an extra referee on the pitch to assist with the set piece, breakdown and offside? (Dave Harris, ‏@zider_I_up)
A. That’s a very good question – some people may feel that the game is too complex for one person, but I’ve been involved in trials in South Africa where they used two referees and in my opinion, it wasn’t all that successful, but that’s not to say it can never happen. The trials are still on-going.

Q. Do you think that the 'Crouch, Touch, Set' call is working? It still seems that a lot of scrums collapse! (Rob Staniforth, ‏@ThisIsStanners)
A. Scrums have collapsed since the year dot. Is the current call better than ‘Crouch, Touch, Pause, Engage’? In my opinion it is. Could it be better? Of course.

Q. Why don't top level refs make scrum-halves put the ball in straight at scrum time? (Clive Chapman, ‏@CliveBees)
A. The simple answer is that they should do, there’s no getting away from that. The ball should be fed in ‘credibly’, is the term we use – so yes, it should be put in straight.

Q. Are there plans to encourage top players to train as referees? (Richard Martin, ‏@richTglaws)
A. Absolutely, we’re always keen to get more referees on board – any professional player that wants to join us, we’d make them most welcome. We also run the Pro ELRA course which is the Professional Entry Level Refereeing Award, we have taken that to three academies in the Aviva Premiership in the hope of better educating young players.

James Haskell

Photo: Getty Images

Q. Would you have given @jameshaskell a yellow card for kicking the ball against Ireland? (Ryan Boyce, ‏@Wolfgang1924)
A. My mum’s Irish and she probably would have given him a red! But in all seriousness, by the letter of the law James kicked the ball to gain an advantage, whether or not it was intentional, who knows.

Q. Have you been to Allianz Park yet? If so, what do you think? Model for the future? (Nick Perry, ‏@nick_perry7)
A. I’m actually heading there this weekend to watch Saracens v Exeter and I’m really looking forward to it. We’ve had a lot of discussions about the playing surface, but when you’ve been up to your knees in mud for the past month, anything that allows you to play on a good, firm service has got to be positive.

Q. With the artificial pitch at Saracens now in place, does the pitch have to be green? Boise State in US play on a fake blue pitch! (Old Colstonians RFC, ‏@OC_RFC)
A. I’ve played on sand, mud and gravel, none of which are green – so the pitch doesn’t have to be green, no.

Q. I propose that all scrum time is off the match clock, match clock not back on until the ball is out. Thoughts? (Nev's Left Boot, ‏@NevsLeftBoot)
A. The scrum isn’t just about the ball going in and the ball coming back out, the scrum is a contest and good scrummaging sides use that time to sap energy from the opposition.


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