England will hold slight edge over Southern Hemisphere teams with revised laws - referee Barnes

Former Harlequins player Karl Dickson is now a referee and is impressed with the fitness of officials
Former Harlequins player Karl Dickson is now a referee and is impressed with the fitness of officials
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Referee Wayne Barnes believes the unfamiliarity of the Southern Hemisphere teams over the new laws that are being trialled in Europe will provide England and other Northen Hemisphere sides with a slight edge.

Adjustments to the tackle and scrum laws are being trialled in the Northern Hemisphere and will come into effect in the south only in January following the November internationals.

Barnes will be among the referees, who will guide England in their build-up to the autumn internationals to provide guidance over the way the game is officiated.

"We all know that Eddie has a keen eye for detail and he will be keen for us to just add to that environment. Everyone will be looking for that competitive edge," said Barnes.

"Unfortunately for the southern hemisphere, but fortunately for us, come November they'll be playing under our laws so they've got to get used to them.

"The Lions hadn't played under laws being trialled (on touch and end of game) in New Zealand during the summer so they got experts in to help them. I'm sure Australia and New Zealand will be doing the same.

"New Zealand start with the Barbarians here which helps obviously. They're the best players in world and the top six teams in the sport are playing each other.

"If we get a small advantage up here, I'm sure the coaches will try to use it. But I don't think it will take long for the visiting teams to work it out."

Former Harlequins scrum-half turned official Karl Dickson is set to officiate in his first Aviva Premiership match this season after he was appointed to the Rugby Football Union's panel of elite referees during the summer.

Reflecting on the challenges, the 35-year-old admitted that he was surprised by the conditioning the new role demands.

"As a rugby player you're doing big weights and running, whereas referees are doing weights to prevent injury and conditioning," Dickson said.

"Referees are a lot fitter than players, I can tell you that for a fact now. If you took us referees and put them against a load of players, we'd be way above them because it's a different type of fitness.

"That was my biggest surprise.... I was 'wow' at how much fitter than players they are. It took time to get up to speed with that."

 

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