Top 14 – “We clearly see that the foot is on the ground”, Laurent Cardona deciphers the arbitration of Bordeaux-Bègles – Toulouse

Bordelo-Béglais and Toulousain offered a magnificent show at the end of the 19th day of Top 14 (31-28). At the time of analysis, certain arbitration points raise questions. The former international referee, Laurent Cardona, brings his experience to better understand the different facts of matches.

Nine tries, 59 points scored: the clash between UBB and Stade Toulouse kept all its promises in terms of play. In the aftermath of this fantastic match, the offensives of the two teams are not the only topics of discussion among fans of the oval balloon. Refereeing and more precisely the role of the video referee questions.

Laurent Cardona, former international referee, sheds light on two contentious situations. First, Paul Costes’s yellow card for a voluntary pass on an attempted interception by Damian Penaud raises the possibility of a penalty try. Then, Pierre Bochaton seems to go into touch on the winning try scored in the 70th minute of play.

“The video referee forces Adrien Marbot’s hand”

It was in the 35th minute of play that Antoine Dupont sent a jump pass towards Paul Costes. A floating pass well anticipated by Damian Penaud, who attempts the interception forty meters from the Toulouse goal. For his part, the young three-quarter center from Toulouse is sanctioned, guilty of a voluntary forward move to put an end to this critical situation. A video arbitration follows to determine the circumstances of the action. The field referee, Adrien Marbot, considers a penalty try. Philippe Bonhoure, video referee, cuts short and “force the hand of Adrien Marbot”, according to Laurent Cardona. The decision will ultimately be a simple yellow card.

Laurent Cardona returns to this exchange: “It was clearly the video referee who encouraged the referee not to award the penalty try, but if the field referee had wanted to take control, he had every right to do so. Adrien Marbot said accepted the insistence of the video referee, because he understood in the words of Philippe Bonhoure that it was the right decision”.

The distance (40 meters) at which this action takes place, which gives rise to debate, is at the heart of the arbitration decision. “In the rule, there is no concept of distance in terms of penalty attempts”explains Laurent Cardona.

World Rugby Penalty Try Rule: “A penalty try is awarded between the goal posts if the opposing team commits foul play which prevents a try which would probably have been scored […]”

The term “probably“, present in the penalty try rule (available on the World Rugby website), “changes everything in the referee’s decision and gives interpretation”. An interpretation which is then based on all the data of the action, including the distance. If Paul Costes’ act of anti-play is proven and the Toulouse defenders are beaten, two factors create too many areas of uncertainty to be able to award the penalty try according to the former referee: “Would Damian Penaud really have managed to catch the ball? We can assume that yes, but there is already a first doubt. Then, anything and everything can happen over forty meters away. In the usual of the refereeing body, when we are more than a certain distance, there is too much uncertainty to award a penalty try. We are not ten meters from the goal line in which case the discussion n ‘wouldn’t even have happened’.

Informal exchange

Pierre Bochaton liberates the approximately 42,000 UBB supporters present at Matmut Atlantique by scoring the winning try. After a superb sequence of passes, the third line resisted the return of Pita Ahki by flirting with the touchline, thus enhancing an already very accomplished personal performance. A touchline narrowly avoided, occurring less than a centimeter away. However, Adrien Marbot, field referee, awards the try without direct use of video. Enough to make Toulouse supporters shudder, yet the TMO played a role in the arbitration decision.

“Even if we don’t officially hear the referees discussing, there is an exchange between the referee, the linesmen and the TMO. There is an informal exchange during which the video referee clearly tells Adrien Marbot that the The images he has seen do not show him a foot in touch at all. When we look at the images of the back and front shots, we clearly see that the foot is in the field. It’s insignificant but it’s clear. “explains Laurent Cardona before continuing: “The linesman is very well placed and has the attitude that we ask of the linesmen”.

The video referee, Philippe Bonhoure, therefore played his role perfectly during the match by allowing Adrien Marbot, field referee, to make the right decisions.

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