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Officiating
USA carries on with 'yes, nine' despite IRB rule change
ESPN Staff
January 8, 2014

The USA board has announced that it will not be implementing the IRB's change on scrum engagement and the elimination of the need for referees to say "yes,nine".

In a surprising move, USA Rugby said that nothing would happen until the changes had been discussed by the board's law committee which will not meet before next week.

"It should be emphasized that the verbal communication is not law, but a suggested protocol," said Ed Todd, USA Rugby's head of referees. "At the present time, all referees in the United States are using the verbal communication. USA Rugby's laws committee and the rugby committee are now reviewing this new possibility, and a policy decision will be made.

"However, this will not happen before next week as it requires full consideration, which must not be rushed. In the meantime, the 'yes nine' communication will stay in effect."

It is inconceivable that the board will not fall into line with the IRB change. While the need for the decision to be communicated to referees across the country is understandable, the rather high-handed tone in which it has been communicated is not.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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