2012 Summer Sevens season – Paddy Mac Updates – July

Posted by SCRRS Website Committee on July 2nd, 2012

We were able to survive the elements in Washington State at the Best of the West 7s on Fort Lewis-McChord. Our hosts Nick and Jason put on an excellent event and we enjoyed our time with the Joint Base Garrison Commander, Colonel Brittain (former Tacoma Nomad). We also enjoyed learning about:


Referees often ask us what they can do to move up the ladder in Sevens refereeing and the short answer remains, get Sevens fit. Look at the players on the pitch, at their speed and stamina and ability to cover the entire pitch and recognize that as referees we MUST match their athleticism. Referees need to keep up with play to be at the breakdown and at the possible try in-goal, in order to be accurate and earn credibility with the players. Sevens players enter tournaments and competitions at full fitness, or else they will suffer in the loss column. There is no time to work their way up to it or to play themselves into shape. Sevens rugby will expose any weaknesses in a very harsh light. Same goes for Sevens referees – there is no time to referee yourself into shape. You are either ready to go and can match the fitness level of the players on the pitch, or you will be found out immediately and left behind. No gas, no love.


We might have seen a couple of phantom offsides calls this past weekend, and we all need to remember when there is no ruck, there is no offside. Be clear which phase of play you are seeing and communicate that to both teams. Always use clear verbal communication to identify whether each breakdown is a tackle or a ruck. Keep it simple and short, “Ruck!” is clear and concise and will let the players know what actions they can take (back foot, no hands, etc.). A player is then either part of a ruck (bound in to the shoulder), or behind the hindmost foot on his/her side of the ruck. A tackle does not create ANY offsides lines. Players wide of the tackle, i.e., more than a meter away, are allowed to play without regard for the direction in which they approach to play (filling in passing lanes, etc.).


Deal with dust ups evenly and with certainty.

  1. Stay calm so as not to throw gasoline onto what are only embers, thus causing an inferno.
  2. Keep your hands off the players (and step back).
  3. Use your whistle loudly and repeatedly — it is your only weapon. Players are used to reacting to the whistle. It goes off and they stop playing; it goes off and they may well stop wrestling.
  4. Be decisive when things calm down. You may consult the assistant referees and in-goal judges, but ultimately you are the closest and in charge.

Our thanks to Chief Warrant Officer Punimata, Mr. Shelton, Colonel Brittain, all the brave men and women in uniform who defend our country each and every day, and the Pacific Northwest Rugby Referees Society who came out in force for the tournament and helped keep order. Hope to see some of you at the Lakefront 7s this weekend and save us a seat at Summerfest.

Paddy Mac

Patrick McNally
National Sevens Referee Manager
USA Rugby

Post a comment via FaceBook

Post a comment on this website

Add your comment below. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

+ five = 14

Referee Advice

No matter how hard we try, insult is less favored than respect. It’s not willful; It’s human nature. — Frank Hafner

Add your favorite referee advice to our list - email us