Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are currently experiencing an explosion in demand for well refereed and well run Sevens tournaments. As we prepare for the inaugural USA Rugby Collegiate 7s Championship, we have an opportunity to set the standard for future Collegiate 7s Championships. Now that the 2011 XVs season is over, it is time to put on our Sevens hats, so repeat after me . . .
SETTING STANDARDS EARLY – Because there are only have 14 minutes in each match, it is vital we set our stall from the beginning. Nobody – Players or referees – has time to warm up. Be ready mentally and physically to fire up and enforce standards at that first tackle and that first set piece.
KEEP THE BALL IN PLAY AS LONG AS LEGALLY POSSIBLE – Sevens is all about continuous play and as referees we need to do our best to accommodate this ? quick throw ins, quick penalty taps, etc. This does NOT mean overlooking infractions or lowering standards, but requires us to work even harder to manage situations first, and look for ways not to blow penalties instead of looking for ways to blow the whistle. Keep up with play and be sure to – get there – so we can use our presence as a further deterrent to negative or destructive play.
STRAIGHTEN OUT OUR RUNNING LINES – Play develops much more quickly in Sevens so it is important that we get to the breakdown quickly. Running around in arcs and diagonally across the pitch can lose valuable time in getting to the tackle/ruck. When the attacking side is advancing up the pitch, try and run parallel to the touchline and THEN slide over to the breakdown. Put yourself in a position to see the ball FIRST, then go through your sequence (tackler, ball carrier, arriving players) and make an accurate decision quickly, play on, penalty or unplayable. Being too deep on the defensive line or in the saddle position will lose you valuable seconds.
WORK AS A TEAM – Sevens is all about tournament play, as opposed to XVs, which is usually a single match. Work in concert with your fellow referees, matching standards as much as humanly possible, and agreeing on application of laws that will send a consistent message to all of the teams. Help and support each other on and off the pitch.
National Sevens Referee Manager