All 7s Referees Read Now

Posted by Bill Caulfield on July 8th, 2013

As most of you probably know, Pat McNally sends out intermittent email on the state of 7s refereeing.  Here’s his latest:

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Due to circumstances beyond our control, we have been grounded for the summer and have to fly under the radar. However, this technicality has not stopped us from getting about locally and staying in contact with those in the know. This is what we have been hearing lately:

SEALING OFF – Not always consistently applied in the past, it was a major emphasis on the iRB Sevens World Series circuit this spring. Coming into contact at the breakdown, a player’s shoulders must be above their hips and they need to be able to support all of their weight on their feet. Arriving players (or tacklers after they have released the ball carrier and gotten back to their feet) can contest directly for possession, but must also be able to support all of their weight on their feet. Prevent attacking AND defending teams from sealing off the ball at the breakdown to ensure a fair contest for possession. This will open up the game for all participants, but must be enforced consistently from game to game, and from referee to referee.

COMING THROUGH THE GATE (NOT CIRCLING) – Everyone knows that all non-tacklers must enter the breakdown from behind (the gate), but we have seen some wild gyrations and incredulous looks this summer. Often times players, who teams are being driven back, will try and take shortcuts in order to contest possession (or slow down the ball) by entering from the side and then spinning around so it appears that there backsides are facing their own dead ball line. This is destructive play and kills flow and momentum. Attacking team players can be just as guilty when they find themselves playing catch up at the tackle and cut corners by entering from the side. Referees sometimes miss this destructive behavior by becoming too ball focused, and forgetting to get in (see the ball) and then get out (gaining a broader perspective by looking inside (the fringe) and outside (back line) for illegal entry and offsides).

PULLING IN THE RUCK – Do not allow players to pull opponents in the ruck. This is a clear violation of Law 16.3(c) – (collapsing the ruck). Players may contest for possession at the ruck by counter rucking – driving their opponents back off of the ball while remaining on their feet. Pulling players from the ruck is destructive, spoiling play and does not constitute a fair contest for the ball.

That’s the report for this week. We will continue our weekly emails in this abridged 2013 summer version, and welcome all responsible questions, criticisms and support from our Sevens rugby community.

Hope to see you all on a pitch somewhere soon.

Paddy Mac

Referee Advice

Treat coaches and players in a courteous way. If they ask you a reasonable question, answer in a polite way. If they “get your ear” by yelling at you, interrupt and remind them of the reason for the discussion. Be firm but relaxed.

Add your favorite referee advice to our list - email us