USA Rugby Announces SafeSport

USA Rugby announces the launch of its new USARugby SafeSport website (

The site contains information on the USA Rugby SafeSport Program and includes:

  • USOC SafeSport Introductory Video
  • An explanation of the reporting process and the Abuse Reporting Form
  • The USA Rugby SafeSport Handbook
  • Information and links to prevention of abuse in sport including: education and training related to the identification and reporting sexual misconduct, bullying and harassment.

» Read more..

Assistant Referee/Touch Judge Courses in Seattle and Portland

PNRRS is hosting two free Assistant Referee and Touch Judge courses over the next week in Seattle and Portland.  Assistant Referee certification is required if you are registered (or would like to be) as an Assistant Referee or In-Goal spot for the USA National 7s Championships in Seattle on August 8th & 9th. Course details are as follows:

Sunday, July 20th, Seattle:

  • Location: Magnusson Park, Seattle, WA
  • Start Time: 10:00am, approximately 3 hour duration
  • No cost to participants thanks to a USA Rugby grant
  • Beep test will be provided for those who need it.
  • Kit Requirements: bring a touch flag, and be prepared to move around.

Wednesday, July 23rd, Portland:

  • Location: Field 4, Delta Park, Portland, OR
  • Start Time: 7:00pm, approximately 2 hour duration
  • Kit Requirements: bring a touch flag, a rugby ball, and be prepared to move around.
  • Register by emailing Bernie Brown ( by Sunday, July 20.  Course materials will be emailed to participants on Monday, July 21.

IRB Performance Reviewer Course

The Northern California Rugby Referee Society will be hosting a Performance Reviewer course on the weekend of September 26-28, 2014. The course entails classroom work on Friday evening, Saturday morning, and Sunday morning, with a match observation exercise of a referee Saturday afternoon, followed by the student preparing a performance review report on the referee Saturday evening, to be discussed during the Sunday morning classroom session. Successful completion of the Level 1 Coaching of Match Officials course is a prerequisite for taking this course.

If you have any prospective candidates desiring to participate in this course on the proposed weekend, please have them contact me through your local Referee Society as soon as possible letting me know. I am attempting to accommodate as many as possible.

Michael G. Malone (
IRB Trainer, license #085

PNW July Summer 7s Update

Roughly 500 miles put in over this last weekend to cover the 7’s events in the region. With injuries, moves, and life stepping in the path of the rugby train, we had a pretty new seven’s crew for the two events. It was good to see the new faces and a few of the older ones.
In Portland there are many thanks to Dane Barclay and his crew at ORSU for taking care of the referee crew in Portland at the Roy Lucas Memorial 7’s. There was a touching moment of silence for three fallen ORSU players before the commencement of the women’s and men’s finals where we all remembered our losses of Roy Lucas, Cleveland Telgarsky, and Lindsay Babb. A huge round of applause for Jeff Lombard (International Athletic – your one stop rugby shop - - Phone 800.635.4553) for giving us a sided tent at the tournament that kept us all dry during the occasional squalls.
On Sunday, Ric Hall, Steve Brennan and the crew of Rugby Washington put on the first of their competitive 7’s season rounds in Yelm.
We have some things we can work on for the next round of senior and youth tournaments…
You are playing hard, it is near the end of the match and the opposition scores to put themselves ahead. That’s ok, you tell yourself, you can still get it back. You prep for the ball coming to you on the kick off by providing your own ball retriever to collect the conversion kick, and your players are ready to go. The conversion kick takes place, and despite your desire to get on with it, the referee and the kicker slowly walk back to the 50. The frustration level starts to rise, and then the kicker starts bouncing the ball prepping for the kick. Will they ever stop bouncing the ball? Finally after about the 5th bounce, the referee blows their whistle to signal the end of the game. ARRGGGHHHH!
Feel frustrated? Then why are we putting teams in that situation. If there are more than 30 seconds left at the conversion, then we will have the kick-off no matter if the scoring team slowly trundles to the midfield. Likewise, if they quickly took the kick when there was less than 30 seconds in the match and there is time remaining after their conversion AND the ball has been retrieved, then we will have the kick-off.
Don’t make teams frustrated because of a simple game management misstep.
If a player wants to dicker around in-goal with the ball to kill time, they are taking their body in their own hands for someone trying to hit them as they put down. But, make sure that if they are hit the player really could not have avoided them. And make darn sure that if they put the ball down quickly that they are left alone.
I counted at least 4 hits that were completely unnecessary after tries. There should be at least a penalty for that offense – with the awarding of it at the 50 after the conversion attempt.
Please help stamp out this dangerous set of play.

Let’s work on remembering Law 19.8 on forming a lineout ( Folks had 2 players from each side participating in the lineout at the line of touch, but we were letting the defense become too thick by not getting the player “matching” the thrower. As the good book states:

The team not throwing in must have a player standing between the touchline and the 5-metre line on that team’s side of the line of touch when the lineout is formed. That player must stand 2 metres from the line of touch and 2 metres from the 5-metre line.

See the video at

With so few people on the pitch, even when a team is playing forwards sevens, we still have a clear view of the contest area. Therefore, make sure you have set up yourself in a position where you can get a clear view of it. If you are seeing hands on the ground, then you are more than likely seeing bridging and a prevention of a counter ruck. Let’s get those players on their feet and allow the defense to counter ruck should they decide to.
Please re-watch the Vimeo video on the tackle assist. There were still too many issues where the tackle assist kept their hands on the ball carrier after the tackle occurred and either stole ball or disrupted it and kept the offense from a quick attack.
We want that ball out of the contact area as soon as possible, and those these defensive players are trying to slow that timing down. By setting yourself up in a wider angle and being to the break down earlier you can spot this and manage it out of the game. Some suggestions I might proffer would be to stand on the sidelines at the next tournament when you are not on and just focus on the tackles.
Without the feeling of a need to pay attention to the whole pitch, you can concentrate on what is happening at the point of this contest. Watch to see if there is a moment when there is not a single soul touching the recently tackled ball carrier, because there should be one. Now, when you don’t see that moment look to see where would you stand if you were in the middle to have seen that same thing.
Look forward to seeing you on the next pitch.
David Pelton

USAR 7s Guidance

Ladies and Gentlemen,

After a brief sabbatical last summer, we are glad to be back on the golden road to unlimited devotion for Sevens rugby once again. The recent College Rugby Championships in Philadelphia and Elite City 7s in Houston showed that Sevens rugby continues to progress and grow in these here United States. From PPL Park and Houston Sports Park, these are some of the comments and trends we are seeing:


By law, a maul consists of at least three players, all on their feet; the ball carrier and one player from each team. All of the players involved must be caught in or bound to the maul and must be on their feet and moving towards a goal line.

One trend in Sevens is when the defending team ties up a ball carrier by holding said ball carrier up and sealing off the ball. If they can stop any forward progress, and keep the ball from being released, passed, or going to ground, a scrum is awarded to the defending team. A more current wrinkle is occurring, when the ball carrier’s team does not commit anyone to the ball carrier being held up, thus preventing a maul from being formed. In this instance, where several defenders are holding up a ball carrier with no one from the ball carrier’s team joining in, it is open play and the referee needs to learn how to handle situations like this:

Ball carrier is held up by opponents, but no one from the ball carrier’s team has bound in.

Not a Maul, not a tackle, but it is open play and the referee needs to encourage play to develop – Players may join from any direction, the ball carrier or defenders may bring the ball/ball carrier to ground which then becomes a tackle, and then all defenders must release the ball carrier.


Ball carrier on their feet with at least one player from each team bound in

(Maul) – Players joining the maul must come through the gate (no side entry), neither side may collapse/pull down the maul (including the attacking side), and if the maul goes to ground legally, nobody is required to release the ball or their opponents.


Once a player from both sides binds in on the ball carrier, the maul is not over until (1) the ball or a player with the ball leaves the maul, (2) the ball is on the ground, or (3) the ball is on or over the goal line. Binding in and then releasing does not end the maul



Witnessed at several recent Sevens tournaments, where a ball carrier is tackled and has done an extra 360-degree roll to basically buy some time for his/her support to arrive. There will be instances where the momentum of the tackle can cause the ball carrier and often the tackler, to roll around legally. What we need to identify is when the ball carrier has become isolated, and the intention is to stall until the cavalry arrives (like a “squeeze” ball not being available immediately, or a “double movement”). Remember, “Ball over body is good; body over ball is no good” (TH). Penalty kick for not releasing the ball.



We are still getting questions about the receiver in a Sevens line out, and when can they “join” the line out. The simple answer is after the line out begins (when the ball leaves the thrower’s hands). When teams form a line out, the team throwing in set the numbers (number of jumpers on the line-of-touch ONLY). At this time, they need to establish and keep the number they will have in the line out. If a team chooses to have a receiver, that player must be back at least 2 meters.


Law 19.8:

(b) Maximum. The team throwing in the ball decides the maximum number of players in the line out.

(d) When the ball is in touch, every player who approaches the line of touch is presumed to do so to form a line out. Players who approach the line of touch must do so without delay. Players of either team must not leave the line out once they have taken up a position in the line out until the line out has ended.

The attacking team needs to establish numbers in the line out “without delay”, and stick with that number until the line out has started. For referees, make sure you know if a team has a receiver (not required), and if so, back them up at least 2 meters. You’re either in or you’re out.

We will not allow players to enter the line out once numbers have been set (no playing number games – unfair to the defending team), until the line out has started.



This is currently an Experimental Law Variation (ELV), enforced on the Sevens World Series, that sets a new time limit on conversion kicks – 30 seconds after a try has been scored. We will be enforcing it this summer at our National Club Championships, and our Territorial Qualifiers. We instructed our referees in Philadelphia and Houston to manage this situation, let kickers know when they have 10 seconds left, but do not disqualify a kick because it was kicked within 32 or 33 seconds. However, if a try scorer throws the ball away after scoring, and it cannot be retrieved in time, the kick will be disallowed. While the Law still states that a conversion kick must be taken with 40 seconds of a try being scored, we feel that we should be working to meet the international standard. It also makes for playing time.

That’s it for this week, and I look forward to hearing from you either on the pitch or through email. Hope to see you some of you in Denver this weekend, I’ll be the one working on my reverse inside out tan.


Paddy Mac

Patrick McNally

USAR National Sevens Referee Manager

May 2014 IRB Law Amendments

The following Law amendments were approved by the IRB Council in May 2014. To view the changes, go to and look up the amendment in the relevant section. A summary of the change is provided below.

Law 3 : Number of Players – The Team
3.4 Players nominated as substitutes
International teams permitted to nominate up to eight replacements

3.4 Players nominated as substitutes (Seven-a-side)
Sevens variation for replacements/substitutes

3.5 The Front Row – Replacements and Substitutions
Re-written for clarification

3.11 Players Wishing to Rejoin the Match
Consequential amend following update to Law 3.10 in September 2013

3.12 Substituted Players Rejoining the Match
Consequential to the rewrite of Law 3.5

3.13 Rolling Substitutions
Consequential to the rewrite of Law 3.5

Law 4 : Players’ Clothing
4.2 Special additional items for women
Female players allowed to wear tights

4.4 Banned Items of Clothing
Single stud at the toe of the boot no longer banned

Law 6 : Match Officials
6.A.5 Entering or Leaving the Playing Area
Amended to reflect intention of Law for player welfare and to acknowledge
the role of water carriers and kicking tee carriers within Law

Law 8 : Advantage
8.5 More Than One Infringement
Amended to improve clarity and to ensure that the referee will apply the sanction which is most advantageous to the non-offending team

Law 9 : Method of Scoring
9.B.1 Taking a conversion kick
Amended in order to:
prevent conversions from being taken from within in-goal
improve the explanation of the player previously referred to as the placer
confirm a clarification which prevents the use of any equipment other than a kicking tee to prevent time wasting after a try has been scored.

Law 11 : Offside and Onside in General Play
11.1 Offside in General Play
Sanction clause added where previously none was present

11.4 Offside Under the 10-Metre Law
Add words “or interfere with play” to improve clarity

Law 12 : Knock-on or Throw forward
12.1 The outcome of a knock-on or throw forward
Quick throw-in after knock-on or throw forward

Law 13 : Kick-off and Restart Kicks
13.9 Ball Goes Into the In-Goal
Amended to cover instances where the wind has prevented the ball going ten metres and the ball has been blown back towards the kicking team’s dead ball line and gone dead.

Law 16 : Ruck
16.7 Unsuccessful end to a ruck
Five seconds to play the ball from the back of the ruck

Law 17 : Maul
17.6 Unsuccessful end to a maul
Five seconds to play the ball from the back of the collapsed maul when the ball is immediately available

Law 19 : Touch and Lineout
19.2 Quick throw-in
(b) Position of thrower at quick throw-in
(e) Rewritten for clarity

19.4 Who Throws In
Amended to offer lineout alternative consequent to amend of 21.4

19.8 Forming a Lineout
Rewritten for clarity

19.10 Options Available in a Lineout
Added new 19.10(k) to cover the accepted play of defending a lineout before a maul is formed, and to provide for a legitimate opportunity to defend at the transition from lineout to maul

Law 20 : Scrum
20.1 Forming a scrum
20.1(i) amended to prevent pulling

Law 21 : Penalty and Free Kicks
21.2 Where Penalty and Free Kicks Are Taken
21.2(c) added to deal with kicks taken from the wrong place

21.4 Penalty and free kick options and requirements
Lineout alternative

21.6 Scoring from a Free Kick
Consequential amend to accommodate lineout alternative

Ongoing Law Amendment Trials
Law 6 : Match Officials
6.A.7 Referee consulting with others
Extension to the jurisdiction of the TMO

Law 20 : Scrum
20.1 Forming a scrum
Amended scrum engagement sequence

2014 USA Rugby National Club 7′s Tournament – Seattle, WA

USA Rugby “unofficially” has selected Seattle as the venue for the 2014 National 7′s Club Championships. The tournament will take place on August 9/10. The location has not yet been nailed down but soon will be. PNRRS will be responsible for staffing the event with ARs and #4 officials; the referees will be national appointments. Please contact David Pelton if you are interested in helping out at this important event.

Refereeing Sevens

Referees, please add this to your summer reading if you will be refereeing (or coaching) sevens.


PNW Rugby Forum

PNRRS and other rugby organizations throughout the Pacific Northwest will hold a forum in Milton-Freewater, Oregon on July 12-13 to discuss regional rugby issues. Referees are encouraged to read the following discussion paper and offer their comments to Chairman Peter Buckley or to their Referee Development Officer. Comments should be submitted no later than July 5, 2014.

Rugby Forum Issues

Summer Tournaments

We’ve updated the information for summer 7′s tournaments with the addition of several events. Please contact David Pelton by e-mail at and let him know the events you would like to work. The locations for some of the Rugby Washington events have not yet been posted so check back.

Spokane 7′s – June 21-22 (Spokane, WA)

Roy Lucas 7′s – June 28 (West Linn, OR), and

Rugby Washington Summer 7′s – June 28 (location TBD)

Fort Lewis 7′s – July 4 (Joint Base Lewis McCord, WA)

Can-Am 7′s – July 12 (Bellingham, WA Polo Grounds, and

Rugby Washington Summer 7′s – July 12 (location TBD)

Katie’s 7′s – July 19 (Pullman, WA); this is a fund raiser for Katie Ribble, who is fighting Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Katie’s dad, Aaron, is one of our stalwart referees in Eastern WA. And,

Rugby Washington Summer 7′s – July 19 (location TBD)

Tacoma 7′s/Rugby Washington 7′s – July 26 (Tacoma, WA)
Tacoma Aroma 7′s

USA Rugby Club 7′s Championships – August 9/10 (Seattle, WA)

Thank you everyone!