2012 Summer Sevens season – Paddy Mac Updates – July part 4

Posted by SCRRS Website Committee on July 19th, 2012

SCRRS Referee Andrew Lin

It was a beautiful summer day at El Dorado Park last Saturday and the Sevens is definitely heating up. Teams are working hard to qualify for the National Club 7s Championships and you can sense the building intensity in their efforts to earn a trip to Treasure Island next month. Referees need to match that level of intensity and determination by upping our game and here are some of the ways we can do that:

Every Which Way

Sevens is a wide-open game where players sprint up and down the pitch with abandon, and when they finish they will race up and down again. Referees need to remember which way is forward for each team (towards the in-goal they can score in). Had a situation last week where one team was down with no time on the clock. The leading team kicked the ball down the pitch to keep the ball in the defending team’s end and hopefully run out the clock. A defender got to the ball first, in-goal, and in an act of desperation he kicked the ball back into the field of play. Because he raced ahead of the rest of his team, he appeared to be in front of everyone when he played the ball. Actually, he was BEHIND the rest of his team and all of his teammates were in front of him, so his entire team was in an offside position. It is easy to get turned around in a fast-paced Sevens match, so be clear on who is in front of the ball (off sides) and who is coming up to the ball from behind (on sides).

Lineouts 101

Before the restart, before the scrum engagement, and before the ball is thrown in are some of the best chances a referee has to manage the game, and hopefully blow the whistle less. Remember, this does not mean lowering your standards, it means working proactively with the players, so they do not commit fouls. When teams are getting ready to throw the ball in, referees should be making sure these standards are being met:

  1. Set the gap in the line out (1 meter). We have noticed that some referees are not getting the full gap they should and are making the job of refereeing a little more difficult. By ensuring that a full meter gap exists between the two teams, you are reducing the chances of an across the line infringement and teams are more focused on getting the ball back in play, rather than fending off opponents standing right next to them
  2. Check the position of those players not in the line out. (A) Non-participants are at least 10 meters back from the line out. This allows the teams the space to attack. (B) Receivers (if a team decides to have one) must be at least two meters from the line out and are not allowed to join the line out until after it has started (when it has left the thrower’s hand). Keep it simple – the receiver is either in or out. (C) The non-throwing team must mark the thrower with a player 2 meters from the line-of-touch and 2 meters from the 5-meter line. If the non-throwing team does not have someone marking the thrower, than they have gained an unfair advantage by moving said player to a more advantageous defensive position (usually out the back to help the back line in defense)

Late Hits

We are all well practiced at guarding against late hits on the kicker. We keep an eye on the kicker for an extra little bit to catch any late hits and don’t worry about the ball as much because it will always come back down to earth. Players are vulnerable after kicking, they are in an open body position and unprotected. Keep the same standards for players after they pass the ball, they are also vulnerable and unprotected. Any tackler that takes an extra step before hitting a player after they have passed the ball, tackles high, or makes a no-wrap or shoulder tackle, should be penalized quickly and sharply.

Our thanks go out to Belmont Shore for putting on a fine Sevens tournament on such a pretty day, to the Match Officials of SCRRS, and to my lovely wife for having me home on a weekend. Next week we climb in altitude to the Denver 7s and I’ll see you inside the Stadium at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park for the final.

Paddy Mac

Patrick McNally
National Sevens Referee Manager
USA Rugby

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