KSA Shark ©

Watson: ELVs benefit S14

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news, Super 14 on 18 Feb 2009 at 11:00
Tagged with : , , ,

The benefits of improved accuracy in the application of the ELV’s were clearly evident during the opening round of the 2009 Vodacom Super 14 last weekend.

SA Rugby’s head of Referees, Andre Watson, believes this is creating a more even contest, opening up space and creating more try scoring chances.

The SA Rugby website reports that the try count in the opening round of this year’s competition was significantly higher than in the previous two seasons.

In the past weekend’s seven matches, 45 tries were scored, at an average of 6,4 per game. This number is almost twice as high as in previous seasons with the 2008 opening round producing 26 tries at an average of 3,7 per game and the 2007 opening round producing 24 five-pointers at an average of 3,4.

Even the past weekend’s low-scoring matches had good, and balanced, try-counts – the Sharks and the Vodacom Stormers each getting two tries in the Sharks’ 20-15 win on Saturday and the Crusaders scoring 3 tries to 2 in a 19-13 win over the Chiefs, also on Saturday.

“On the evidence of the first round matches it is very clear that the refs are more accurate in the application of the ELV’s,” said Watson. “This is having a positive spin-off for the game, with lots of tries, but also closer contests.

“The referees are allowing a contest at the break down which either results in a team getting quick ball or there being a turn over. The refs are not calling the rucks too quickly and only when they are formed as per law, which is speeding up play and creating space for teams to play with”.

Watson added that the SANZAR discussions around the free-kick, which encourage referees to favour the short-arm option instead of a full penalty were bearing fruit to the benefit of the teams.

“However, unlike last year, refs were not reluctant to award a full penalty, or use the sin-bin, if there were repeat infringements and we saw several examples of this at the weekend. This was also a key part of the debate over the free kick and penalty,” Watson said.

The highest try-count of the weekend was in the Brumbies’ 33-31 win over the Highlanders in Dunedin where the home side outscored the visitors by 5 tries to 4 but succumbed to a late drop goal.

Three matches produced seven tries apiece – the Blues got four to three in their 25-19 away win over the Force, the Auto & General Lions got the same tally in their thrilling 34-28 win over the Vodacom Cheetahs as did the Waratahs in their 26-22 win over the Hurricanes in Wellington. The Vodacom Bulls’ 33-20 win produced six tries (Bulls 4-2).

Despite the increase in the overall try tally the margins of victory are down on the previous two seasons. The weekend’s biggest winning margin was the Bulls’ 13 point win over the Reds whilst in the six other fixtures the margin of victory was six points or less with the lowest being two points in the Highlanders vs Brumbies clash.

In the previous two seasons there were several one-sided contests, such as the Crusaders 40-point drubbing of the Brumbies (43-3) and the Blues 32-14 win over the Chiefs (18 points) in 2008, and the Cheetahs’ 18 point win over the Stormers (27-9) in 2007.


  • pity the aussie refs don’t benefit rugby.

  • Comment 1, posted at 18.02.09 11:04:00 by try time Reply
  • @try time (Comment 1) :

    I scheduled this, this morning and took myself a bet that you’d be the first commentor on the thread.

    I WIN!!!!!!!! 😛

  • Comment 2, posted at 18.02.09 11:05:23 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • @try time (Comment 1) :

    Did you see the Hurricanes bit about the ref on the where is your team thread? 😆

  • Comment 3, posted at 18.02.09 11:06:09 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 3) : i am going to find it right now. but if i think it says what i think it does i agree. stuart cheated.

  • Comment 4, posted at 18.02.09 11:08:27 by try time Reply
  • @try time (Comment 4) :

    I am SURE you will enjoy the comment. 😆

  • Comment 5, posted at 18.02.09 11:10:56 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • he is almost spot on. he never mentioned the try the hurricanes couldn’t get because stuart allowed mumm to lie on the ball 10 meters from the waratahs try line. i would like to watch that again and count how many times he told him to leave the ball, and he never penalised him. the waratahs were in trouble had they gotten the quick ball.

  • Comment 6, posted at 18.02.09 11:12:29 by try time Reply
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 5) : thats why like the kiwis they don’t hold back like south african media and officials do. they say it as it is.

  • Comment 7, posted at 18.02.09 11:14:00 by try time Reply
  • I find the referee’s defence of the ELV’s and their fellow referee’s substandard performances idiotic.

    When looking at last weekend and analysing it specifically for how or why the tries were scored and how many – application by refs on the laws will be last on my list as possible reasons.

  • Comment 8, posted at 18.02.09 11:29:54 by MorneN Reply
  • @MorneN (Comment 8) : How can they say more tries = better laws and the application thereof, when the focus at the breakdown is not on the players slowing down the attacking team’s ball, but the attacking team going off their feet trying to get the couch potatoes away from the ball?

    This is bullcrud!

  • Comment 9, posted at 18.02.09 12:29:38 by Baldrick Reply

  • As a fellow ref I can’t comment on these statements.

    You know with us referees sticking up for each other and all that sort of thing. 🙄

  • Comment 10, posted at 18.02.09 12:42:20 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @Baldrick (Comment 9) :

    And KSA I can include you on this.

    My personal view is that the officiating at the breakdown has become worst and not better.

    Worst in the sense that it is even more inconsistent, not only from ref to ref, but from breakdown to breakdown even in the same game!

    Rugby quite simply is about momentum, you break the momentum of either the attacking or defending team and they will struggle to score.

    With the focus on being more vigilant on attacking teams now, not calling the ruck too early you will obviously upset the momentum of the team with the ball in hand. And if you dont have the ball in hand you will not score tries.

    Rugby, thanks to the ELV’s, is quickly becoming a game where we do not create skillful players anymore, but skillful spoilers. I was always under the impression that skills and talent should be rewarded, and not someone spoiling the guys with skills and talent on hand – obviously I was wrong.

  • Comment 11, posted at 18.02.09 13:35:01 by MorneN Reply
  • @MorneN (Comment 11) :

    I won’t say I disagree with you.

    I will add though that the FK for the majority of the inringements is to blame for a lot of this.

    If a player KNOWS he is going to give away 3 points for stuffing around at the ruck then he will be more hesitant to do it.

    Now though with the FK it is a case of “I’m not sure if I’m transgressing here but WTF, it’s only a FK I am giving away” And when the forwards from both teams have this attitude it become a F%^&&*en Bunfight on the ground instead of a ruck.

  • Comment 12, posted at 18.02.09 13:48:37 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Can i start a “bring back the penalty” group on facebook? 😆

  • Comment 13, posted at 18.02.09 13:49:17 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 12) :


    I simply cannot see the point in this and I cannot understand how Watson wastes a whole article in trying to defend it.

  • Comment 14, posted at 18.02.09 13:53:47 by MorneN Reply
  • Just heard on Inside Rugby (now the rugby club) on Fox… 20 more tries scored in this opening round over last year…

  • Comment 15, posted at 19.02.09 11:43:44 by bryce_in_oz Reply

  • 45 in total… 😯

  • Comment 16, posted at 19.02.09 11:46:10 by bryce_in_oz Reply


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