Sunday, 1 May 2016

Whatever Happened to: the 10 metre rule?

Another in a long line of reminiscences about aspects of rugby that appear to have achieved "endangered species" status in recent times…

Whatever happened to the 10 metre rule (or, for those of a certain vintage, the 10 yard rule)?

Once upon a time the merest squeak of dissent, the slightest murmur of protest or even the faintest flicker of disapproval at a refereeing decision would incur not only a penalty against your team but also the immediate sanction of your team being marched back a further 10 metres, much to the disgust of the rest of the team whose withering looks in the direction of the perpetrator was always enough to ensure that it didn't happen again.

I can't think of the last time I saw this applied by a referee in a professional game. What's more, each week in Under 13 rugby I witness a combination of gripes, whinges and other assorted dissenting sounds more or less every time the referee's whistle is blown. It's not direct dissent, as such, more an expression of "life is so unfair" that comes with the territory of being a teenage boy - but that kind of thing certainly used to be more than enough to incur the referee's wrath and more often than not involved being made to retreat 10 metres. You soon learned to keep your mouth firmly shut.

Referees do tend to be a little more communicative with players in this day and age and, certainly at junior level, appear to want to explain each decision, almost as if they are seeking the players' approval. I can see that clarity is important and there is an element of educating the players but I have to say I much preferred the "back ten" approach which, if employed more often, I can't help feeling would radically reduce the level of incessant chatter aimed in the direction of the referee in today's game.

Call me old fashioned and all that...


Daryn said...

Happened twice today in the sarries Newcastle game.

TotalFlanker said...

Pedant! Never let it be said that I let facts get in the way of a good rant.

Von said...

I'd like to know when it was last used in an international though.
And this is a problem for two reasons:
1. Internationals are the games most seen by impressionable young viewers, who I imagine will consider the dissent shown to be acceptable.
2. Internationals are the games where the highest level of dissent seems to be evident.