The new IRB Directives that will have an impact on how the laws are refereed in 2009 were discussed by Mark Lawrence, IRB Panel Referee, at Friday’s Discovery SharkSmart KZNRU Coaching Conference.
Attracting international interest, the Coaching conference which is now into its 30th year, brought school and club coaches closer to some important personalities both in local rugby as well as esteemed experts.
Michael Marnewick reports for Sharksrugby.co.za that the conference had a record turnout of 500 delegates, demonstrating exactly how highly regarded this annual event is. The morning session included demonstrations from Swys de Bruin, Lawrence, Grant Bashford and Chris Boyd, while an informative afternoon session at the iZulu Theatre at Sibaya Casino had the audience enthralled and entertained by Hans Scriba (MD Sharks Academy), Professor Tim Noakes, Boyd, Bashford, Lawrence and finally an entertaining panel discussion.
As explained by Lawrence, the new directives in terms of how the game is refereed will address technical and safety issues. “Foul play in particular will be dealt with harshly and I urge you coaches, please coach it out of the game,” he said.
In general, many of the directives are there to make an even contest out of the game. For instance, the early lift either as a dummy jump or defensive tactic will no longer be tolerated. However, the hooker may not delay the throw either. “Referees have been told to speed things up,” he explained. The opposition may also not prevent the quick throw on pain of being penalised.
Crooked scrum feeds by the scrumhalf will also be monitored. “Hookers must hook, the referees want to see a contest,” Lawrence pointed out. He also explained that the backrow players must bind correctly – a full arm on the lock and may not bind onto the prop to get closer to the action.
The tackle area will also be scrutinized for players going off their feet – both defending and attacking players. This is not new, but will certainly be monitored carefully this year.
Sharks Assistant Coach Grant Bashford also provided some insights into the success behind the Sharks 2008 Absa Currie Cup campaign, explaining that putting the team before the individual had been at the forefront.
“John Plumtree also drove the importance of the jersey, that it must be given 100% respect,” he explained. “The point was that ownership of the jersey is a privilege, not a right.”
There are always turning points that mark the shifting of the balance of power, and for Bashford, this came about when the Sharks had to negotiate a tricky away fixture against Griquas. “This was a pivotal time in our campaign,” he explained. “It was a crucial time having just lost to the Bulls and Free State.”
He also pointed out that with the leaders in the group driving the team culture, rather than the coach dictating it in an authoritative manner, there was outstanding team spirit in the camp, a congenial team environment based on honesty and communication, and respect and responsibility.
“We have a wonderful leadership group and decision-making was never done without the leaders. The team was empowered to take responsibility and the entire team was encouraged to lead.”Tweet