USA Rugby has issued the following guidance to national referee coaches, which provides a good take on things worth watching out for in the “industrial” trenches. Please note on “3. Ball Out” (it is out when the ball is cleared), that while rugby is moving toward this standard, the official a USA Rugby policy for when the ball is out is still when it is under control. For our local rugby, please continue to follow the policy outlined in the 2013 Game Management Guidelines.
+ Higher Standards and Statement Penalties to communicate expectations to players, rather than giving the breakdown breathing room in an attempt to create flow.
+ Facilitate quick ball and contest: Tackler to release, Tackler Assist to show clear release and through the gate, no Sealing.
+ Balance: Consistency throughout creating an environment where both teams feel they can compete fairly.
+ Manage Effectively: Reduce repeated infringements environment with stronger and controlled management.
+ Communication: Players know the Laws/expectations – no talking required, if you need to say “release, roll away, etc.” they have probably already slowed the recycle. You may instruct closer to the goal line to facilitate a score if it will be beneficial.
+ Slow and Consistent Engagement Procedure, no rushing.
+ Square & Steady: Manage and eliminate the 15º pre-put-in wheel by the defense.
+ Wheeling: Is allowed and the front rows need to be through 90º, however, there has to be a forward shove by the team and not walking the scrum around. (45-degrees for U-19 and reset – no turn-over).
+ Straight Put-in: Expectations should be increased to ensure a straight put-in and manage the early foot in the tunnel.
+ Dominant Scrum: A legally dominant scrum should be rewarded. This means they have to be binding correctly and pushing straight. Unbinding (and standing up) should be penalized.
3. BALL OUT
+ NOT OUT:
o Ruck/Scrum: One or two hands on the ball when the ball.
o Ruck/Scrum: When bodies are over the ball
o Ruck/Scrum: When the ball is cleared, no bodies over the ball.
+ To be Enforced Strictly:
o Last line of feet: Nothing marginal, defenders to be clearly behind the last line of feet
o Kick Ahead: No offside player may advance until they are put onside
+ Practical Approach:
o Indicate that you saw the infringement, then decide whether to play Advantage or No Advantage.
o When playing advantage give it enough room to develop, no reason to rush the “Advantage Over” call.
o The game at the national level is fast and you should allow opportunity for Advantage to accrue.
6. FOUL PLAY
o Avoid over-reacting, this is rugby and it is a physical game.
1. Separate teams.
2. Take a moment to clear your mind.
3. If you have an AR then you should talk to them to see if they have another perspective of the incident.
4. Assess the outcome of the incident, I.e. Injury.
5. Assess the players/teams’ reactions, I.e. Confrontational and aggressive, or calm and relaxed
o A Red Card offense is a Red Card offense and should be refereed accordingly, but ensure you have followed the process to the decision and not just reacted.
Richard Every | High Performance Referee Manager | USA Rugby