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Author Topic: Football vs. rugby
snopes
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Comment: Not exactly new- I've known of the story for some years now.
(Oddly enough, so has my US brother-in-law). Maybe a military source from
Germany???

It concerns a set of matches played by a US Football team and a UK Rugby
team. According to the legend, the Brits won hands down, both games.

When the Americans played Rugby, they lost because they were playing
'unprotected', and lost their nerve.

When the English played American Football, they were so padded and
armoured that they felt invincible... and proved it!

The problem is, no-one I know can give me facts or figures, though every
rugby player knows the tale. Is there any truth to this?

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Jay Tea
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I doubt there is any truth here though it is an enduring tale.

The first major indication of improbablity is that both games are far too complicated to simply play spur of the moment games. The American footballers would be in great danger at the scrum and woefully exposed handling wise and in the tackle, and would soon tire of raking studs in ruck and maul. The rugby players of course 'would' probably fair better but would soon be lost in a game that doesn't follow the ball, and besides, throwing that thing isn't as easy as it looks [Wink]

Put simply, you can't just pad up a rugby team and watch them go, and visa versa, it would be like a baseball team trying their hand at cricket.

However - lets say both teams trained at the other code for a few months. In this scenario I would say the rugby team would win. It's simply a harder, faster game requiring a much higher lever of fitness and power.

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Doc J.
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quote:
Originally posted by Jay Tea:
However - lets say both teams trained at the other code for a few months. In this scenario I would say the rugby team would win. It's simply a harder, faster game requiring a much higher lever of fitness and power.

You really are asking for a row Jay [Wink] But having played rugby for eight years, I have to agree with you.

At school we had a group of visiting American students who were roped into taking part in a rugby "friendly". Once they got the hang of not passing the ball forwards, they quite enjoyed it, and they were quite shocked / impressed by the levels of punishment that players have to soak up over the course of a game.

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Jay Tea
The "Was on Sale" Song


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We had a couple of American American football players train with my Uni XV, one of them represented us in the pack - big strong lad who didn't mind getting stuck in, though he didn't keep up with the play very well - an accusation you could level at a lot of forwards [Wink]

The other guy played flanker - i'll never forget the laughter when he complained loudly to the referee that somebody had 'deliberately stamped on him' [Big Grin] Still, he got used to it and soon began to revel in the fray - I was reminded of this fellas when I saw that episode of friends when Ross joins in the rugby game in the park...

 -

Seems like a long time ago eh? [Wink]

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wee wifey
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Having watched the six nations Jay Tea, I'm beginning to wonder if it ever happened [Razz]

little miss

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Hans Off
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Ditto, I am slowly finding myself drawn to my tenuous welsh roots this year!

I wish they will bloody sort themselves out!

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meanjelly
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I am not 100% sure if rugby would win if there was training in both games.
Well it depends if we are talking Pro-football or not. I could see non-pro football players lossing hands down but pro players are hugh, fast, and in great shape.

I could not imagine what would happen to a rugby player being hit by a 350lb football player without pads on.

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chillas
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A 350 pound football player would never get his hands on your average rugby player.

Sorry, meanjelly, but conditioning is a joke in American football. We're talking about players who are accustomed to an average of eight minutes of play time over a three and a half hour game, and who consider a 40 yard run a "gasser" and are grabbing for the oxygen immediately afterwards. There's really no contest.

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Elwood
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This reminds me of a theoretical match-up that we finally got to see in high school. Our school had a great girls volleyball team, and a lot of people wondered how they would fair against boys from other sports. During one assembly, a hastily assembled team of male track and basketball athletes were asked to take on the v-ball team. The men absolutely destroyed the women, with a score of something like 15-2. Despite lack of formal training in that particular sport, the boys' athletic training in other sports was sufficient enough for them to triumph handily.

While Rubgy seems to be more of a game of skills, American Football is largely a game of strategy, so a lot of Rugby players are probably superior athletes to American Football lineman such that the large Football linemen would not be able to keep up with their quicker Rugby counterparts. However, US NFL (Professional football) players and, more importantly, coaches are simply the best in the world at what they do. They have spent their entire lives playing training and watching film of the game and developing plays and tactics designed to fool defenses or to wear them down over the course of the game. No team with preparation short of this level is going to be able to stop even the worst NFL offense. Rugby players would probably also lack the size skills to bring down the comparatively huge runningbacks from American Football and also the defensive discipline to stay in position on screen passes and reverses.

Then consider that only the very best of the already highly skilled college players have advanced to the pro level and they have further specialized into one position, doing that and only that for a living for many years. I say the teams would split the match, each handily winning in their respective area of expertise.

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DaBrudders
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Just to go off at a slight angle: why is it (still?) called a 'touchdown'?
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BeachLife
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quote:
Originally posted by feral chillas:
A 350 pound football player would never get his hands on your average rugby player.

Sorry, meanjelly, but conditioning is a joke in American football. We're talking about players who are accustomed to an average of eight minutes of play time over a three and a half hour game, and who consider a 40 yard run a "gasser" and are grabbing for the oxygen immediately afterwards. There's really no contest.

Unless the rugby players can figure out someway to avoid lining up at the begining of each play, contact would happen and the weight would make a difference.

I organized a lunch time football game once a week when I worked at the empire. In one particular game, I lined up against a very beefy guy for most of the first half. I'm no big guy myself, but running into him was like charging a brick wall, and it happened on every play. Later, the other teem switched him out for a little guy (maybe half his weight). On the next play the same contact sent this little guy into the air, amazing both of us. I'd expect rugby players would experience similar results.

I agree with Elwood, the matches would be split with each team winning their own match, probably by a pretty decent margin as well.

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pinqy
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quote:
Originally posted by feral chillas:
A 350 pound football player would never get his hands on your average rugby player.

True. But there aren't many 350 pound football players. Most are somewhere between 200-300. Besides, there are over twice as many men on a football team, you wouldn't field any of the lineman.

quote:
Sorry, meanjelly, but conditioning is a joke in American football. We're talking about players who are accustomed to an average of eight minutes of play time over a three and a half hour game, and who consider a 40 yard run a "gasser" and are grabbing for the oxygen immediately afterwards. There's really no contest.
On the other hand, the average rugby player couldn't handle the physical punishment of being tackled by a 265lb (19stone, 120kg) linebacker. The football players might have fewer who can handle the constant running, but the rugby players have fewer who can handle the physical punishment, which wears down your constitution just as much. And the wide receivers, cornerbacks, and kickers (ex-soccer players) wouldn't have trouble with the speed or the running.

My prediction is that in football, the football players would destroy the rugby players..they wouldn't have a chance, and in rugby the game would be close, but rugby players would win.

pinqy

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Mr. Furious
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quote:
Originally posted by pinqy:
But there aren't many 350 pound football players. Most are somewhere between 200-300.

And in today's NFL, you have 230-275lb. linebackers who are flat-out fast. Brian Urlacher, at 258 lbs., ran a 4.59 40. Safeties, who are often over 200 lbs., are even faster.

There seems to be an image of football players as big, plodding slobs. At the highest levels, that just ain't so.

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Jay Tea
The "Was on Sale" Song


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quote:
On the other hand, the average rugby player couldn't handle the physical punishment of being tackled by a 265lb (19stone, 120kg) linebacker.
Why not? They're used to getting tackled, kicked, raked, punched, gouged, dragged, tipped, mauled and crushed by 20 stone rugby players, often en masse - why in the world couldn't they cope with being tackled by a footballer?

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Hans Off
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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And a picture seems to be being painted here that rugby players are tiny fellas! And that ain't so either!

Besides when you watch some of the "Tinier" rugby players take on the big lads (aka Austin Healey) They use the size difference to their advantage.

I would love to watch a pair of games between the best of each code, But I still think it would be a walkover both ways, but only from a tactical standpoint rather than one of strength.

Oh yeah, and what Jay said...

 -

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pinqy
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quote:
Originally posted by Jay Tea:
quote:
On the other hand, the average rugby player couldn't handle the physical punishment of being tackled by a 265lb (19stone, 120kg) linebacker.
Why not? They're used to getting tackled, kicked, raked, punched, gouged, dragged, tipped, mauled and crushed by 20 stone rugby players, often en masse - why in the world couldn't they cope with being tackled by a footballer?
Because it's a different type of tackling. When you're wearing that much gear and padding, and used to taking on 22 stone linemen dead on, it's different from the usually more fluid play of rugby. The hits in football are harder than in rugby, which is why they wear all the pads and helmets. No, rugby players aren't small guys, but I'm pretty sure American football players are enough larger and stronger on average to even things up a bit.

pinqy

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Jay Tea
The "Was on Sale" Song


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Right, I see what you mean pinqy, it's more 'clashing' than actual tackling as rugby fans know it, still, given all the padding I think it'd be a nice break for a prop forward to be given a helmet for a change [Wink]

Do any of the big lads actually carry the ball in gridiron?

Jonah Lomu was 20 stone at his peak but not just a beefer - he could run 100 metres, on grass in boots, under twelve seconds, and move, feint, dummy and pass with sublime skill, as well as steamroller the opposition....

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This is where I come up with something right? Something really clever...

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Mr. Furious
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quote:
Originally posted by Jay Tea:
Do any of the big lads actually carry the ball in gridiron?

There are some big running backs, like Jerome "The Bus" Bettis, who is 255 lbs. Most RBs are in the 210-235 lb. range, though.

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wee wifey
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well I was just reading the stats for the Irish Rugby team and the majority of them are in the 210-240 lb range, except wee stringer, and even he's 160lb which shocks me.

I wonder how those boys do it (the rugby fellas that is) I mean okay coming up against 1 250lb fella's gonna hurt, but lying under a pile of 6 or 7 210lb'ers is still pretty gruelling.


little miss

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pinqy
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Few of the really big lads carry the ball. Their sole job is to hit and hit hard. Of the top 10 ball carriers last year (9 running backs and one quarterback) the average height is only 5'11"(180cm) and the average weight is only 215lbs (15st5, 97kg). There are two main styles of running: some, like Jerome "The Bus" Bettis (5'11", 255lbs) just run over you. He rarely runs more than 5yds, but he does it every time, all day. Then you have the people like quarterback Michael Vick (6'0, 215lbs) and tiny Warrick Dunn (5'9", 180lbs) who are almost impossible to catch.

pinqy

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Brandon
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I believe the real key to the debate would be roster size. If both teams were allowed large rosters (say the size of an NFL team) I’d think the football team would be the only team capable of taking a game in the sport they were not trained for.

The reason I say this is that the NFL team would have 300+ pound linemen to control both lines of scrimmage in the football games. I have a hard time seeing the rugby players ever being able to stop the football team putting 200 lb guys up against 300 lb guys on the line. With large roster sizes the football team will have players of diverse enough body types to excel at certain positions.

In the Rugby game (a sport I admit to knowing much less about) I’d say the players all conform to a much tighter size constraint. Working from the same large rosters the football teams would have sufficient running backs, corner backs, wide receivers, and linebackers to at least field a team with the type of physical makeup with a chance of being successful.

Now if you reduce roster size to a number low enough to force the football team to only fill their roster with players capable of excelling at both sports you’d have a debate in my opinion.

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brick
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If the comparison is a first-rate rugby team against an NFL team, the rugby players would have no chance in the football game.

No eleven athletes on earth could give an NFL team a run for its money without at least a year of specialized instruction under an expert panel of coaches assembled specifically for the task of preparing them for the game. It's just too complicated.

Without 5 players averaging at least 270 lbs (and probably more like 300lbs, unless somehow there is an NFL-caliber passer on the roster), the rugby players would not be able to field an offensive line capable of moving the ball against an NFL defense.

I suspect the rubgy players would win the rugby game rather handily, although I don't know enough about the sport to enumerate the reasons.

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Faeriefeet
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Don't know anything about the story cause I don't know anything about sports...

But...mmmmmmm....rugby. Who can resist watching a team of fit men in really short shorts wrestling around in the rain and the mud. Dirty, wet, scantily clad men...yum.

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CannonFodder Global Trotter
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quote:
Originally posted by Faeriefeet:
Don't know anything about the story cause I don't know anything about sports...

But...mmmmmmm....rugby. Who can resist watching a team of fit men in really short shorts wrestling around in the rain and the mud. Dirty, wet, scantily clad men...yum.

If you like that, then look for us at the post-match drink/songfest. It's almost more fun than the game, more singing, less hitting.

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chillas
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Well, I would be willing to concede that the football players would win their own game, based on the byzantine rules and overly structured nature of the game, which can only be learned through experience. But I think the spirit of this anecdote (which I'm certain is apocryphal) is about which group of athletes are overall the better athletes. Looking at it from that perspective, I would still maintain that the rugby side would win hands down.

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pinqy
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Of course, the question nobody has asked yet: League, or Union?

pinqy

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Mistletoey Chloe
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If this were true, wouldn't more rugby players be jumping on the gravy train and playing in the NFL?

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RoofingGuy
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Not to throw too much of a wrench in the works, but what if the rugby-vs.-football match was played on a Canadian field (maybe even with Canadian rules [Razz] ). Would the extra width give the rugby players more room to work with and make it less of a purely phyiscal strength/endurance contest, toning down the football "advantage"?

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bufungla
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quote:
Originally posted by pinqy:
Of course, the question nobody has asked yet: League, or Union?

Good question - all the talk about scrums suggests Union, but the talk of equipment and pads suggests the possibility of professional vs professional, which up until recently implied League.

buf 'prefer Aussie Rules myself' ungla

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Jeffrey814
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I look at it like this:

Q: Who wins a fight between a shark and a tiger?
A: Whoever has home field.

Jeffrey

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Elkhound
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quote:
Originally posted by bufungla:

buf 'prefer Aussie Rules myself' ungla [/QB]

Aside from 'stomp the NFBSK out of whoever has the ball' ARE there any Aussie rules?

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Mr. Furious
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quote:
Originally posted by feral chillas:
But I think the spirit of this anecdote (which I'm certain is apocryphal) is about which group of athletes are overall the better athletes.

The spirit of the thread seems to be centered around which group of athletes is tougher, though.

I'd be interested to see a top-flight group of rugby players go up against a top-flight group of football players in neutral events to determine who has superior athletic ability. The four main types, which are common to both sports, would seem to be strength, speed, endurance, and agility.

You could either go with a Battle of the Network Stars type setup, or something like the NFL combine. The former would be infinitely more entertaining, with events like the obstacle course, tug-of-war, steeplechase, etc. The latter, though, would probably be more accurate. Even though the games are played much differently, the core athletic abilities required are very similar.

How about this series of drills (what they measure in parentheses):

40 yard dash: A player runs 40 yards as fast as he can. He is timed at three increments: 10, 20 and 40 yards. (Pure speed from Point A to Point B under ideal conditions)

225 lb. bench press: The player lies on a weight bench and lifts a 225-pound barbell as many times as he can. He has to lower it to his chest each time to count as a legitimate repetition. (Strength and conditioning)

20 yard shuttle: The player straddles a yard line and puts one hand down in a three-point stance. He can start by going either right or left. Let's say he starts at the 5, with the goal line to his right. He runs 5 yards to his right and touches the goal line with his right hand. He then runs 10 yards to his left and touches the 10-yard line with his left hand. He finishes by running back to the 5. (Lateral quickness, coordination and change of direction)

60 yard shuttle: From a starting line, a player runs 5 yards and back, then 10 yards and back, then 15 yards and back. He must bend down and touch the line at each 5-, 10- and 15-yard interval, for a total of six touches. (Speed, endurance and conditioning)

Vertical jump: The player stands flat-footed and raises his arm straight up. His reach is measured from the ground to the tip of his fingers with a telescopic ruler. The pole is lowered to that height. The player then jumps straight up and hits as many plastic flags as he can. The flags, spaced half an inch apart, rotate when hit. (Vertical leg explosion)

Broad jump: The player puts his toes on a line and leaps forward. Distance is measured from the line to where his heels land. (Leg explosion, quickness and lateral burst)

3 cone drill: Three orange cones are placed on the field forming an "L." Cone 1 is at the end of the L, Cone 2 is at the corner of the L and Cone 3 is at the top of the L. There are 5 yards between each cone. The player starts by getting down in a three-point stance next to Cone 1. He runs to Cone 2, bends down and touches a line with his right hand. Then he turns and runs back to Cone 1, bends down and touches that line with his right hand. Then he runs back to Cone 2 and around the outside of it, weaves inside Cone 3 (as if he were running a figure eight), then cuts tightly around the outside of Cones 3 and 2 before finishing at Cone 1 in a full sprint. (Speed, quickness, flexibility, change of direction, body control)

100 yard dash: A player runs 40 yards as fast as he can. (Speed and endurance)

1/4 mile run: A player runs 1/4 mile as fast as he can. (Speed, conditioning, and endurance)

Description of most of the drills from here.

I added the 100 yard dash and 1/4 mile run because rugby is more of a constant motion game, and therefore thought that there should be more drills that measured endurance and conditioning rather than just burst and raw strength.

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"He's not gonna let me in, I'm Mr. Dirty Mouth!"
- Jeffrey Coho (Craig Bierko), Boston Legal

Posts: 8729 | From: North Carolina | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Jay Tea
The "Was on Sale" Song


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David James, England football 'keeper, certainly found his time training with Miami Dolphins edifying...

http://www.manchesteronline.co.uk/sport/football/manchestercity/s/144/144372_james_in_super_bowl_mood.html

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This is where I come up with something right? Something really clever...

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bufungla
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by Elkhound:
quote:
Originally posted by bufungla:

buf 'prefer Aussie Rules myself' ungla

Aside from 'stomp the NFBSK out of whoever has the ball' ARE there any Aussie rules?
Well, there's the blood rule:

quote:
A player who is bleeding or who has blood on himself or his uniform is required to leave the ground, at the request of the umpire and have the problem seen to. The player will not be allowed to return until the bleeding has ceased and any blood has been completely removed. This player can be interchanged off the ground, or the umpire can call a halt to play while the player is seen to.
Although it is interesting how they handle serious offenses:

quote:
1.11.1 Reports. There is no send-off rule at AFL level. Players can be 'reported' by umpires for serious breaches of the rules. The umpire is required to inform the player immediately of such a report. After the game, a report form is detailed by the umpire.
1.11.2 The Tribunal. A reported player, the umpire and the player who was infringed are usually required to appear before the League Tribunal to give evidence about the breach of rules. The Tribunal determines the innocence or guilt of the player based upon the evidence supplied, and any penalty for a player found guilty. This is usually suspension for eligibility to play for a number of games.
1.11.3 Trial-by-video. Reviews of video-tapes of games played that week are also conducted to note any reportable incidents missed by the field umpires. Players can be cited to appear before the Tribunal from these video reviews, as if reported.

buf 'and the Victorian Supreme Court got involved in a suspension back in 96' ungla

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"Pardon him. Theodotus: he is a barbarian, and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature."

George Bernard Shaw, Caesar and Cleopatra

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