More mid-season comments from USAR

From: Richard Every <revery@usarugby.org>
Date: October 13, 2017 at 06:55:34 EDT
 
We are mid-season now and there have been some improvements in your refereeing which has been inspiring, and to continue to build through to the end of the season, we would like you to consider some additional areas of focus:
 
  1. BREAKDOWN:
    1. URGENCY: Most tackles become rucks, and it requires referees to manage space more effectively. This is achieved by working harder to be on an inside/infield position to create more presence and work to create/maintain space.
    2. POSITIONING at RUCKS, take up one of three positions:
                                                              i.      On the attacking side, facing the defense: Close to the ruck – crash ball will be outside of you. 
                                                            ii.      On the attacking side, facing the defense: Far from the ruck – crash ball will be inside of you.
                                                          iii.      Close to the goal line, once you have worked/established ball availability, drop to the defense, between defenders (not in front of them).
NOTE: These positions are essential to avoid disrupting and getting in the way of defenders
    1. TACKLER ASSIST: 
                                                              i.      Needs to release immediately. Seeing too many referees allowing the “let it breathe” approach that actually allows the defense to effectively slow down the recycle until they are cleared out. Be proactive in removing it early from the game.
                                                            ii.      If you need a REPLAY to see if they released the ball it is not good enough – clear release, clear space.
    1. RUCKS range from 150-200 per match. At about 15% there is competition for possession, and 3.5% should clearly be a turnover. It amounts to around 20-30 competitive rucks, and 7-10 that should be turnovers. The more you watch rugby, and the more you focus on anticipating the breakdown, the better you become at making those key decisions, the ones that matter, the ones where you get the probable outcome correct that supports the flow of the game.
  1. SCRUM:
    1. SLOOOOW DOWN the BIND-SET. Let the scrum settle before calling SET. When you call BIND, the scrum height slightly increases, then once teams bind, the height goes down and the scrum becomes steady. THEN CALL “SET”.
    2. PRESSURES: TH pressure is downward, LH upward. Thus, when we see a TH being penalized for pushing up, it makes no sense, it could only be the LH not taking the pressure and pulling out.
  2. ADVANTAGE:
    1. SCRUM: Be sure that when you call advantage over, that the team has controlled possession.
    2. PENALTY: A penalty kick allows a team to:
                                                       i.      Possibly kick 3 points (sometimes from 50m or more away).
                                                            ii.      Kick for touch (sometimes 50m or more) and retain possession.
NOTE: Take these points into consideration before playing fruitless advantage, hoping that something spectacular will happen.
  1. FOUL PLAY: We are seeing some referees getting back to old habits of negotiating high tackles. There is no negotiation here. Penalize it, put the onus on the players, and get it out of the game.
Remember, the game is not about you. You are there to facilitate an environment where both teams can compete fairly, on a level playing field.
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