Let’s be VERY clear about this!!!

From: Richard Every <revery@usarugby.org>
Date: Wed, Jan 10, 2018 at 12:36 PM
Subject: Global Law Trials

Just a note to clarify that the GLOBAL LAW TRIALS are still in effect, even though they have not been included in the new Law Book.

They are here: http://laws.worldrugby.org/?domain=20

Reminder about subs

Just a reminder (extracted from a 10/5/2017 message from the MARR Chair):

Bottom line, ensure you identify all the front row capable players before the game (and include them in the pre-match safety brief). If you have a roster limit due to front row eligible players, you can address it prior to the match.

Law 3.5 (b)

If you have 3 front row players, you get zero subs.
If you have 4 front row eligible players, you get up to 3 subs TOTAL or a roster up to 18.
If you have 5 front row eligible players, you get up to 7 total subs or a roster up to 22.
If you have 6 front row eligible players, you get up to 8 total subs or a full roster of 23.

For you fashion hounds…

From: Kurt Weaver <kweaver@usarugby.org>
Subject: 15% off on USA Rugby Referee Apparel


15% off the USA Rugby Referee Store on World Rugby Shop through 11/05/2017! Please pass on to your folks! Here is the store link – www.worldrugbyshop.com/usa-rugby-referees

Promo Code is – TEAM15

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. 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
                                                              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.
    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.

A Few Fall Focus Areas from USAR

On Thu, Oct 5, 2017 at 2:21 PM, Richard Every <revery@usarugby.org>, USAR High Performance Referee Manager wrote:

There have been a lot of positives already– the new tackle trial that a ruck forms when a player on their feet is positioned over the ball has created more space and structure. The only negative appears to be where defenders approach, make contact, and then attempt to gain possession with their hands. This means a few more “hands in” PK’s than we normally see, but hopefully players will adjust over time.

A few things to focus on:


When you anticipate the scenario above, you could call “RUCK NO HANDS”, and it may prevent a PK.
We see a lot of referees commenting in their reports to “Let it breathe”. That is a good approach especially if you had a full season of Sevens and are struggling to make the transition to Fifteens. Please focus to differentiate between “let it breathe” and allowing defenders to slow down the recycle. This is noticeable as we see some referees over-managing, with too much talking. Often, when you communicate to defenders to do something, like “Release” or “Roll Away”, they have already achieved their goal in slowing down the recycle.



i. Both teams should be stationary and square before each call.

ii. LH props to keep the inside should in line and not tucked.

iii. LH to bind on the back or side – not under the TH.

iv. TH to bind on the back or side – not on the LH arm.

v. DO NOT RUSH the Bind-Set. It takes patience and focus to get this right.

WALKING AROUND: Teams need to be pushing forward. Walking around, spinning the scrum on its axis should be penalized.

TIME WASTING: We have seen a few matches where players waste time, to form lineouts, scrums, and so forth. Be up to date on your Laws:

  • Conversion Kicks: 90s – time elapsed the kick is disallowed.
  • Penalty/Free Kicks: 60s – time elapsed the kick is disallowed and a scrum is awarded to the opposition.
  • Scrum: Ready to “Crouch” within 30s – Free Kick, if it is repeated, Penalty Kick.
  • Lineout: Teams are required to form a lineout. If they delay, you request they form the lineout (this includes teams that lineout a distance away and walk into the lineout). If they do not comply, Free Kick. If they repeat this action, Penalty Kick.

RUCK with one player

From: Richard Every
Date: Fri, Sep 8, 2017 at 11:35 AM

[This is an excerpt since we’ve all seen the video and know the new law.]

If a player has to step with one leg over the ball, they would be a prone target to be cleared out.

AT THIS TIME, in the USA, WE WILL DO THE FOLLOWING, until further clarification:

If, at a tackle, a player on their feet positions themselves over the ball, a ruck is formed. That means, your body has to be over the ball. It should be in a controlled manner, and both legs can still be on your side of the ball and they may grasp their player that is on the ground. Try not to over-complicate it.

If that player then decides to play the ball, they have to step back so they are no longer over the ball, then play the ball coming through the gate.

If, after they have formed the ruck, they pick up the ball in that ruck-forming position, it is a PK against them for hands in.

Game Management Guidelines

Game Management Guidelines – 2017-2018 (PDF)

Slides from Kurt Weaver’s (USAR) webinar (PDF)

All of Kurt Weaver’s (USAR) materials via Dropbox

Requirements for USA Rugby Referees National Panel

Requirements for USA Rugby Referees National Panel include:

  1. Demonstrates a degree of comfort, competence, capability and confidence in refereeing high level matches;
  2. Demonstrates a degree of comfort, competence, capability and confidence in assistant refereeing high level matches;
  3. Demonstrates long-term commitment as referee;
  4. Responds appropriately to referee coaching;
  5. Demonstrates self-motivation and willingness to self-review;
  6. Demonstrates high knowledge & understanding of Game;
  7. Demonstrates mental agility & adaptability;
  8. Benchmarks successful fitness requirements;
  9. Contributes positive energy to and operates well within the group and High Performance System;
  10. Demonstrates commitment to the Community, and contributes to the development of match officials;
  11. Demonstrates excellent Ambassadorial skills;
  12. Complies to the USARR Code of Conduct.

A question that is often asked is “How do you become a NP Referee?”. Ultimately, the USARR Selection Committee is responsible for selecting the Panel. We will be releasing a structured pathway by the Fall that presents clear steps and goals from C3 through to the top.

Referees who aspire to be NP Referees, can control a lot of their own pathway:

  1. Proactive involvement in the refereeing community
    1. Attend meetings.
    2. Support fellow referees.
    3. Be an ambassador for the game – network with referees, coaches, players. It raises your profile and support structure.
    4. Attend/participate in as many events/tournaments as possible.
    5. Be available and let everyone know you’re available (Don’t sit and wait for an email/call)
  1. Grade
    1. B1, 2, 3 / Territorial
    2. ADVANTAGE System – support your own development, upload and review videos, ask peers/reviewers to review your matches.
  1. Certifications (http://usarugby.org/referee-courses)
    1. L1 and L2 courses completed, and hopefully L3
    2. CMO1 Course sets a good foundation for self-learning and understanding referee coaching
    3. Touch Judge and Assistant Referee Certified (Online)
  1. Laws
    1. Be a scholar of the game, know your Laws & Interpretations.
    2. Be an active participant in the ADVANTAGE Message Board
    3. USA Rugby Referees Facebook page is an active group that discusses a wide array of Laws & Interpretations.
  1. Fitness
    1. YoYo: Elite 18.5 NP 18, B 17
    2. Beep: Elite 12.6, NP 12, B 11.6
  1. Presentation
    1. How you present yourself, communication and body language, is vital in establishing credibility and trust.
    2. Signals & Whistle tone should be perfected. If you have a mirror, practice. Learn to blow your whistle properly.
    3. Self-perception should be explored. How we perceive ourselves is often not how others perceive us. It can make a huge difference if you can establish an honest approach here. Ask your peers for assistance, study video of NP referees and of yourself and compare how you are presenting yourself on the field, how you communicate, and is your body language, whistle tone and signaling exceptional? Do you run well – yes, you can be coached to run like an athlete. Another way to consider presentation is if you had a non–rugby person see you referee a game, they should think that the referee looks great. Sell yourself – if you get this right it creates an amazing foundation for being a successful referee and achieving your goals.