Category: General

A Few Fall Focus Areas from USAR

On Thu, Oct 5, 2017 at 2:21 PM, Richard Every <>, 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.

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 (
    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.

Fall 2017 Fitness Testing

From Amanda Cox <>:

Any referee who wishes to be considered for National Assignments in Fall of 2017 should submit a passing fitness test score by September 1. The YoYo test is preferred, but the Beep test will be accepted until the 2018 cycle.

Please report scores using this Google form (LINK).

Fall 2017 Passing Fitness Scores
Grade   YoYo    Beep
Elite   18.5    12.6
NP      18      12
B       17      11
C1      17      11
C2      16      10