Podcast: Episode 89 – Here Comes The Judge

In a special feature length episode Cammy and Iain are joined by Nicks Johnston, an expert in Sports Law to take a deeper look at World Rugby’s decision to fine Scottish Rugby £70,000 in the wake of comments made before the game against Japan at the 2019 World Cup.

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Born a Souter but brought up just south of the Border in Berwick where he played for Berwick RFC as a kid any any position where cover was needed.
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14 comments on “Podcast: Episode 89 – Here Comes The Judge

  1. Connor MacCleod on

    It’s irrevlevant now (as we’ve paid the fine and expressed our regret) but it was mentioned more than one in the podcast (great btw- I listen every week) that if Scotland were deducted 4 points we would have to qualify for the next World Cup.
    I’m struggling to understand this as we had 11 points (2BP wins and 1BP loss) in Pool A and the next best team, Samoa had 5 points (1BP win). Therefore if we were deducted 4 points, we would be on 7 points, 2 whole points above Samoa and still third in the pool.
    I’d be grateful if someone could explain this to me.

    Reply
    • Iain Hay on

      By the looks of it, the maximum number of points that could possibly have been deducted never seems to have been stated and I don’t think there was a precedent for unions being charged with disrepute.

      But yes, a 4 point deduction would not have been enough.

      Reply
      • Referendum on

        Was going to point this out. Tbf neither Iain or “The Judge” himself Mr Black made this point but it was your guest who made this point and I think she may have heard this from a source and believed it. Not brilliant lawyer like research there although she seemed to cover most other bases pretty well. I can’t remember who said this in the first place but clearly folks are struggling to count and shows how things get thrown out there, then get airtime then get believed then it goes too far and we get this mess.

        I don’t understand how World Rugby can decide to treat Scottish Rugby so different to others and sit there and think they are worthy of running a sport. Especially when they have said the were treating every team as the same in their world cup they then treat one association differently.

      • Connor MacCleod on

        No worries. I just thought I was missing something.
        Personally I think the reason World Rugby went after Scotland was so that no one would dare question their contingency planning. Their robust plans were anything but, so it’s annoying that they have got away with it and everyone (outside Scotland) is ignoring it.
        Still, we had to draw a line under this and the compromise that the SRU and World Rugby have come up with will hopefully be the last we hear of it.

  2. Baker on

    The way World Rugby have used victims of the typhoon as a human shield to avoid criticism for their inability to organise a rugby tournament is pretty disgraceful.

    But for all that they talk about safety, World Rugby’s inflexible rules actually made the situation more dangerous than it needed to be. The SRU wanted the game pushed back 24 hours at an early stage, which would have been the safer option. Instead World Rugby’s rules forced it to be played on the day of the cleanup and therby put a huge amount of pressure on the Japanese organisers to have people out working in potentially unsafe conditions.

    Reply
    • Referendum on

      Spot on. As many have said on this forum. Being annoyed at going out of The World Cup and having concern for those who’s lives in danger are not mutually exclusive. This scenario is unlikely ever to happen again. But every other country would be exactly the same as Scotland and they know they would and yet Scotland is getting this rhetoric from hypocrites from all over the world. World Rugby is a farce and should be the ones criticised for allowing matches to be cancelled rather than postponed. The tournament had the slack to work this out and to say they didn’t is ridiculous.

      Reply
  3. TeamCam on

    I’ve not yet finished the podcast, but I think you guys are being too lenient on WR/RWCL (“WR”): Dodson was right to say that the unions with more money are treated differently because there was no alternative location set up for the Japan vs. Scotland match, but there was for the England vs. France match, as reported in The Guardian and elsewhere. Therefore, WR were treating teams differently, which, as you say, leaves them exposed to allegations of corruption. I’m stunned that the SRU didn’t make more of this, given that it is an explicit example of WR favouring the ‘more important’ unions. So when Nicks says that the SRU can’t bring that up because it’s unprecedented, I think she is incorrect, because the SRU could have cited an immediate example of their allegation.

    Yes, the alternative location was extremely stupid, but the quality of the contingency planning isn’t the issue. The issue is that WR treated England and France differently to how they treated Japan and Scotland. As I’ve said elsewhere, WR did a masterful job changing the narrative from their incompetence and corruption to the SRU’s alleged insensitivity, especially given that comments from Eddie Jones et al. were far more insensitive.

    This entire ‘independent’ review reads more like they were trying very hard to punish the SRU. When a panel made up of esteemed people can’t even follow their own logic (e.g. about comments being considered in a vacuum), what other conclusion can one reasonably reach?

    Reply
  4. Saint4805 on

    It’s obvious to me that WR were more concerned with getting their preferred teams through to the knockout stages than they were with ensuring that as many pool games as possible were contested. Everyone knows that if any of the big boys were in Scotland’s position then the game would have somehow taken place and no mistake.

    The 0:0 rule is so flawed it’s untrue. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s existence was a way for WR being able to manipulate final pool standings. Surely the rule has to be changed to something along the lines of “WR will endeavour to rearrange any matches cancelled due to severe weather or other force majeure and where this proves impossible a 0:0 draw will be awarded”. WR should to be shamed into changing this rule and facing up to the fact that their contingency planning was shocking. The trouble is that no nation (or their press) would dare call them out on it after seeing how we were treated.

    Reply
    • Rory Baldwin on

      The key line there would still be “where this proves impossible”. The possible definition of that is a hole big enough to drive the missing Ireland team bus through. WR would argue that it had proven impossible quite quickly, and the SRU would argue that it was not trying hard enough to exhaust *every* option and was still possible. So again its back to lawyers arguing. The problem is not that their contingency plans were rubbish or they are corruptly trying to gerrymander results, it is that they weren’t designed around shifting just 100 playing staff/support/media crew and kit, they wanted the game played within easy reach of *thousands* of fans too, understandably to avoid ticket refunds, appease sponsors etc. Hence why the contingency venue was rumoured to be only 14 miles or so away.

      If they move it to the other side of the country yes the game can go ahead behind closed doors, and most of us not in Japan would have been okay with that. But is there a risk to life if all the fans decide they want to go too, setting out from a region under a typhoon?

      Reply

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