"Change needed" - Nigel Owens demands change to current referees on-field behaviour - Ruck

“Change needed” – Nigel Owens demands change to current referees on-field behaviour

Popular former referee Nigel Owens has taken a shot at modern day referees for being far ‘too chummy’ with players and believes it must stop.

Looking ahead to the start of the 2022 Six Nations, the Welshman has identified this as the reason for growing dissent from players towards officials.

One example saw Ireland international Bundee Aki was warned for confronting a referee while Wallaby hooker Tolu Latu was sent off for swearing at Wayne Barnes in Paris.

He wrote in his column for The Telegraph: “An area that needs to be addressed, and it is not a major issue yet but has been creeping in over recent months, is the amount referees talk to players. 

“There is a time for communication and there needs to be a balance. But the more you talk in a game, the more you open yourself up to have a two-way conversation, and players feel they can talk to you about anything. 

“We are seeing more of referees going ‘don’t do that, mate’, which makes players feel: ‘I am speaking to my mate here, I can say whatever I want’. I would like to see less of that, and it’s why a hint of dissent has come into the game recently.

“Communication is important, but it does not have to be constant. Less is often more. There is no need for a debate on the field.”

“More expansive rugby” – Nigel Owens wants five law changes for Rugby World Cup

Popular referee Nigel Owens says rugby’s new Laws are NOT working to improve the game.

Owens, who hung up his whistle two years ago, has come up with five possible changes to encourage expansive rugby.

#1. Scrap the goal-line dropout

Owens wrote: “As for goal-line dropouts, I was a big fan initially because I felt it would prevent attacking teams from numerous pick-and-gos near the try line, with teams instead attempting to move the ball wide to avoid being held up and losing possession. But I’m not sure it has worked as planned. We still see plenty of pick-and-gos until teams get over, we still see plenty of mauls and the number of collisions hasn’t decreased.


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“We are also seeing fewer scrums near the goal line, and to be honest I’m not sure that is a good thing. The scrum needs to be an important part of the game, and right now we are not seeing the benefits of it. Rugby must continue to be a game for all shapes and sizes, and at all levels, too.

Attacking teams are also kicking longer knowing that if the ball rolls dead, the defending team has to do a goal-line dropout and they can get the ball back. We’ve also lost the short dropouts we used to see from the 22-metre line where teams would compete to win the ball back, or a quick dropout would be taken, because teams now backed up on their goal line just kick the ball long to escape and what happens? The opposition kick it back.

“From initially believing it would work, I would now like the goal-line dropout law to go to be honest. If anything it is having a negative effect.”