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Ed Morrison answers your questions: #AskEd

01 May 2013

  • Ed Morrison answers your Twitter questions
  • Answers on scrums, rucks, TMOs and pressure


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 the second instalment of #AskEd he answers your Twitter questions.

Q. How do you plan to change the scrum to stop endless resets, could we see a grip on the props shirt so people can't slip binding? (@chinnerswasp)
A. We’re aware that the scrum is an area of concern. The IRB have conducted a lot of research with Bath University and the outcome of that is that come September we could see a change to the engagement whereby the props have to bind before the referee gives the signal to engage. What we want is fewer reset scrums, and if this new law comes in and helps, then it can only be a good thing.

Q. In terms of officiating is it getting more difficult due to increased pressure put on refs by pundits/media? #rugby (@phillycrowley)
A. There’s no question that there is a lot pressure on referees. I don’t think that it’s just the pundits and media who put pressure on, but the refs put pressure on themselves to be the best that they can be. There is a lot at stake nowadays!

Q. Do you as a ref ever think you could be subconsciously biased? (@JamesMassey12)
A. How much are you offering James?! In all seriousness, referees make mistakes but they’re honest mistakes – just like players, they make honest mistakes too. The subconscious doesn’t come into it, we do the best that we can, knowing that mistakes will happen, but to suggest that there is any bias whatsoever is not the case.


Photo: Getty Images

Q. When a player trapped at bottom of rock cannot get away due to weight of bodies, why are they then still penalised #rugby (@andyuk1974)
A. Interesting question. You have to bear in mind that a ruck usually starts with a tackle and if the guy who has made the tackle is at the bottom of the ruck and makes no attempt to remove himself then he leaves himself open to conceding a penalty. If the referee believes that the player is trapped and is trying to get away then he can blow the whistle and award a scrum to the attacking team. 

Q. Do refs feel supported or undermined by things like TMO, RefCam and the citing process. Do they want more or less help? #rugby (@theeggchaser)
A. I’m a massive supporter of the new TMO laws and I think that at the professional end of the game anything that can help referees make the correct decisions has got to be good. The key for me is that the referee remains in charge and has ultimate control, but if we can help him along the way, then great.

Q. What's the quickest way, as a young referee, to ascend up the levels to the elite of the game? (@tj_cummings)
A. The quickest way is to be good at it, Tom! You need the ability to learn quickly and the RFU have introduced an ‘RFU Academy’ which is run by Chris White and we’re already seeing some positive signs and we’re fast tracking the best of the refs through. If you’re good enough and young enough then opportunities will come your way.

Q. Do all referees spend time with professional clubs in season or is it just the full time employees? #rugby (@PhilJ0606)
A. The full time referees spend the most time with the clubs because they are contracted to the RFU and it’s much easier! The other referees have jobs so it’s a bit trickier, but all of the information is fed back to all of the referees and there is a very joined up approach.