Chop tackles

From: Richard Every <>
Date: Thu, Apr 19, 2018 at 2:24 PM
Subject: April 19, 2018 – CHOP TACKLES
As we move through the playoff matches toward the championships, the intensity in matches will increase significantly.

Please take a serious note of the following:

  1. FOUL PLAY: It appears that we need to take it up another notch or two. As mentioned before, foul play is a player issue, and it is not to be debated. Address it, and eliminate it from the game – we don’t need it in rugby. Safety is priority.
    1. Chop tackles
      1. Minimum YC
      2. Targeted at the joint – RC
    2. Shoulder charge without an attempt to wrap – minimum YC
    3. Tackling a player in the air:
      1. If both players have a realistic opportunity to catch the ball – play on,
      2. If not, it is how the player lands:
        1. On their legs – PK
        2. On their side or lower back – PK & YC
        3. On their upper back/head – PK & RC
    4. Dump tackle: Lifting a player and turning them parallel to the ground or beyond:
      1. If the tackler realizes the problem and they hold the player and put them down safely, play on,
      2. If not:
        1. PK & YC
        2. Player lands on upper back neck/head – PK & RC
        3. Dropping the player – RC
  2. SCRUM:
    1. Be patient and set the scrum up correctly, shoulders in line, bodies straight.
    2. If a player pushes the opposition player up in the air, IT IS CONSIDERED VERY DANGEROUS, blow your whistle immediately for a PK, if they continue to push, YC

Two Items from Richard Every

From: Richard Every <>
Sent: Thursday, April 12, 2018, 9:53:36 AM EDT
Subject: NCS – Foul Play, In-Goal Positioning, Assistant Refereeing by RICHARD EVERY, HPRM, USA RUGBY on Apr 11, 2018


Please find the presentation PPT: HERE

The presentation video can be viewed: HERE



From: Richard Every <>
Sent: Thursday, April 12, 2018, 2:49:49 PM EDT
Subject: April 12th, 2018

As we move into the “business end” of the season for the PRP, D1A and NCS College Playoffs, I would like to share some thoughts on a best practices approach:

    1. We are not looking for foul play, and we most certainly are not on the hunt to YC the first opportunity in a game, “to settle matters” as some have stated. It is never something that has been communicated from management and is an approach that sets the foundation for an uneven performance.
    2. Do put the onus on players to play within the Law. It includes:
      1. Eliminating foul play by setting high standards and not debating.
      2. Finding a balance by managing players that are functioning in a high stress environment – always be respectful.
  2. SCRUM:
    1. The key for the referee is to slow down the bind-set. Be patient.
    2. Reward legal dominance.
    3. Keep backrows bound until the ball is out.
    1. There seems to be a trend to referee the breakdown less, rather than setting clear markers for players.
    2. At the breakdown, less leads to more inconsistency.
    3. Eliminate sealing, and hands on the ground beyond the ball (by both attack and defense). Often referees are debating materiality here, but if you eliminate it, it allows for quicker ball, and better contest when teams are vulnerable for turnovers.
    1. Manage the gap – bigger gap allows more room for the throw-in and results in structured lineouts and better maul formation.
    1. Quick Taps:
      1. When you delay a PK at the breakdown, it allows an ideal opportunity for a quick tap – so be aware of it.
      2. Be sure you have an understanding with the scrumhalves before the game that the mark is in the region of the infringement, not where you are standing.
      3. Awareness that a quick tap may be taken will assist you in facilitating it to support quick play.
    2. Kicks:
      1. Please, manage players in front of the kicker, in general play, and restarts.

Spring Season Focus Areas – 4/4/18

From: Richard Every <>
Date: Wed, Apr 4, 2018 at 10:15 AM
Subject: Spring Season Focus Areas – 4/4/18

We are well into the Spring Season and want to be clear on a few areas:

  1. SCRUM:
    1. Be patient, slow down the BIND to SET call – be sure the scrum is steady.
    2. #8 has to be bound prior to the SET – seeing the slingshot quietly making its way back
    3. Credible feed, has to be hooked – team putting in cannot simply drive over the ball
    1. Tackler: If the tackler is slow to move, you should not be rewarding the tackler assist or first arriving player as the tackler prevents the ball carrier from exercising their options.
    2. Tackler Assist: Clear release and through the gate
  3. SPACE:
    1. Slow ball leads to more offside. Manage space from the outset.
    2. Appears some defenses are setting up a few meters behind the offside line and to gain more momentum – this is difficult for referees and AR’s to monitor and will either take time for everyone to adjust to make accurate calls.
    3. Restarts – remind players to remain behind the kicker.
  4. LINEOUTS: Formation
    1. Players may not approach the lineout, stop a distance away, then move into the lineout to gain momentum on the jump – manage initially, then FK.
    2. Players may take a quick lineout by continuing to move toward a lineout and jump when they arrive.

Two Items

A couple of things:

1. Penalty tries. If you award a PT, you must issue a Yellow Card. There are only two reasons for not issuing a YC:

  • The act of foul play was not considered deliberate. To be honest, the list of ways in which that can arise is so short as to be almost negligible.
  • You can’t identify the perpetrator. About the only example I can think of here is a maul heading to the goal line that gets collapsed and you can’t affirmatively ID the perp.

2. Yellow Cards – If given, they MUST be issued. If you are unclear on where things are to be reported, that information is available on this site.

If you have any questions, ask!

Uncontested scrums

From: Richard Every <>
Date: Fri, Feb 9, 2018 at 6:54 PM

UNCONTESTED SCRUMS – Both teams must always have 8 players in an uncontested scrum.

[This applies in all games, regardless of the number of players being used.]

The scenarios below only apply when a team is using the full roster of 23.  The scenarios presume that uncontested scrums are required because of the specialist nature of front row positions (such as if both the starting and the replacement hooker are injured).

  1. Two front row players replaced through injury, and one of the new subs, PLAYER A, gets injured:
    1. Uncontested scrums
    2. The remaining front row PLAYER B needs to come on to be in the front row of the uncontested scrum and another PLAYER C from that team needs to leave the field
    3. Team plays with 14 players for the remainder of the match
  2. Two front row players replaced through injury, and one of the new subs, PLAYER A, gets a YC:
    1. Uncontested scrums
    2. The remaining front row PLAYER B needs to come on to be in the front row of the uncontested scrum and another PLAYER C from that team needs to leave the field
    3. An additional nominated PLAYER D needs to leave the field
    4. Team plays with 13 players
    5. When the suspension period is complete, PLAYER A comes off, PLAYERS B, C and D return
  3. Two front row players replaced through injury, and one of the new subs, PLAYER A, gets a RC:
    1. Uncontested scrums
    2. The remaining front row PLAYER B needs to come on to be in the front row of the uncontested scrum and another PLAYER C from that team needs to leave the field
    3. An additional nominated PLAYER D needs to leave the field
    4. Team plays with 13 players for the remainder of the match
  4. Two front row players replaced through injury, and one of the new subs, PLAYER A, goes off for BLOOD, and the team has a suitable temporary replacement to continue contested scrums. The temporary replacement player is injured:  [This also applies if PLAYER A was injured as a result of foul play by the opponents.]
    1. Uncontested scrums
    2. Any PLAYER can come on to be in the front row of the uncontested scrum
    3. NO additional player needs to leave the field
    4. Team plays with 15 players until the BLOOD returns
    5. If they cannot return to the match, revert to Option 1

USA Rugby Referees Focus Areas 2018

USA Rugby Referees Focus Areas 2018 (PDF)

World Rugby Focus Areas & GMG’s PPT (link; 350 MB)

NOTE: There is no Head Injury Assessment (HIA) for any competitions in the USA.

Let’s be VERY clear about this!!!

From: Richard Every <>
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:

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 <>
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 –

Promo Code is – TEAM15

More mid-season comments from USAR

From: Richard Every <>
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.