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    Abuse of referees is a serious problem: rugby cannot afford to be like football.

    Anthony Woodthorpe's sin against Irna Herbst in the Harlequins second row led to controversy in Bath's match against Queens. Photo: TNT Sports

    There were some quality and entertaining games in the Premier League last weekend, but it is typical of the times that we find ourselves in a situation where the focus of some of them is on a refereeing error that was called social networks “by some mistake.” serious dispute.”

    The controversy comes with a further claim that Bath's attempt to get back into the game against Harlequins may have been thwarted by the presence of a player tainted by sin on the field, giving the home team an unfair advantage. To accurately evaluate this claim, it is necessary to take a close look at the game's chronology; what happened and when. It seems confusing, but these are the kinds of details you need to learn if you want to avoid the mistake that too many people make by discovering a mistake and then attributing all sorts of consequences to it.

    In the 63rd minute of the game, Irn Herbst, a substitute in Quins' second row, was yellow carded for failing to retreat 10 meters from a penalty from which Bath eventually converted the try. He should have stayed off the field until the 73rd minute. At 70:51, three minutes early, Herbst returned to the pitch and can be seen standing outside Bath's lineout on Queens' 22. The ball was thrown across the back of the lineout to Ollie Lawrence, who was described as being “miles offside”. » TV commentators. Herbst made a tackle in midfield but Bath's Ruaridh McConnochie scored from the effort. The practical effect of officials' mistakes? Zero.

    Herbst returned to the field before 10 minutes had expired. Photo: TNT Sports

    After that (72.10) Herbst was one of two players to make a tackle about 35 meters from the Bath line – virtually no effect. What seemed to rule Bath out was a huge tackle made by Herbst at 72.33, but everyone seemed to forget that he was once again one of the two selectors. The decisive blow to the legs was dealt by Lennox Anyanwu of Queens, so the practical effect was zero.

    What happened next may have had some effect as the subsequent lineout was wrongly awarded to Queens. On this throw, Herbst stole the ball when he shouldn't have been on the field. However, to suggest that Quins were unable to build a short lineout and win the ball with seven forwards remaining is speculative at best and, in any case, Danny Care headed the ball straight back to Bath after the ensuing break, giving them a counter-attack. inside half of Queens.

    As can be seen, the practical consequences of the refereeing errors were nil or negligible, and this does not take into account the controversial offside error that led to McConnochie's try. So what explains the furore over this? The answer lies in a growing trend in rugby for fans and coaches to blame every failure on one or two refereeing errors, regardless of whether they actually caused anything. This is an undesirable trend and needs to be countered to prevent rugby from following football's precedent and blaming officials or anyone other than themselves for losses.

    The blame game undermines respect for officials

    A fair way to assess the consequences of any mistake is to look at all the points you should have scored but didn't, and weigh them against those you missed but shouldn't have scored. If the total exceeds any points that may be assigned to the officers, you may have to start a case. Even if this happens, what if the error occurred at the beginning of the game? Will it really lead to losses if you fail to deploy it in the remaining time? If the error occurs when you have little or no time to respond, then you have the best case, but that's unlikely to be the case. Considering the numerous mistakes that teams and individual players make in every game, which always outweigh the refereeing mistakes, is one referee's mistake the real reason you lost?

    If someone associated with Bath, stupid enough to claim “we got robbed”, was any official the reason the team allowed Queens' Andre Esterhuizen to score twice, or Marcus Smith, or Louis Line, or Alex Dombrandt, or Will Evans? Were they the reason Bath were 40 points down by 47 minutes? Note that Queens did not record a single point from a penalty on a goal that was impossible to defend. Are you seriously blaming officials?

    Rugby has seen how this blame game ends. This undermines respect for officials and makes it difficult to recruit judges. This culminates in senior judges and their families receiving disgusting abuse and death threats. There is nothing wrong with legitimate complaints about mistakes made, but remember that, unfortunately, they happen. To continue, as some are doing now, to blame officials for all of our troubles, even remote and de minimis, is both wrong and dishonest.

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