IRB Ruling 3 of 2012


Click to view most recent Law clarification from the IRB.  It addresses replacement front rows and what should happen in a game with eight allowed substitute/replacements when uncontested scrums are ordered.  This is consistent with the USA Internal Variation that has been in place for a couple of years.  Currently the IRB is trialing the use of eight replacements in selected International competitions.
The essence is that if a team exhausts its supply of trained front row players and the referee must order uncontested scrums, the player whose departure caused the uncontested scrums may not be replaced.



2012 Game Management Guidelines 

The 2012 Game Management Guidelines are now available from USA Rugby.



High Performance Referee Structure Evolves

Author: USA Rugby
Date: 01/27/2012

BOULDER, Colo. -- USA Rugby Referees continue to evolve the best structures to develop referees through effective management structures, performance reviewers, reporting systems, and referee coaching. The latest progression includes; streamlining the number of officials in national competitions to increase consistency and identifying the best performers; a restructuring of High Performance Management; and the introduction of Zones and Zone Managers.

USA Rugby Referees is headed by Ed Todd, Referee Development Director. High Performance Management consists of Richard Every, High Performance Referee Manager (HPRM); Patrick McNally, Sevens Referee Manager, Fred Thomas ,Appointments; Mike Cobb, Match Official Technical Director; and four Zone Managers, Al Klemp, Jem McDowall, Mike Geach and Don Pattalock.

Zone Managers’ responsibilities are to provide processes and programs that will enhance match official recruitment, talent identification, retention, education, and development. The Match Official Technical Director is responsible for creating learning programs that will be presented online and at workshops/clinics, and will be required in providing specific-based training to individual national performance reviewers as required.  

Zone referees will fall into the Zones’ online system, The GAME System®, that includes Performance Review Reports, Referee Self-Evaluation Reports, Team Coach Reports, Availability, Appointments, Referee/Performance Reviewer/Team Data. The system automatically identifies strengths and development areas to accelerate growth.

The HPRM is responsible for international referee development and exchanges, and managing referees in the RSL, Division 1A Men’s College, and the Women’s Premier League. National referee appointments are made by Fred Thomas, Ed Todd, and Richard Every.

Performance Reviewer appointments for the RSL are made by the HPRM in consultation with DRD and others, and the remainder by the Evaluations Chairperson, David Metcalfe, in consultation with the HPRM. Patrick McNally runs the Sevens program, including the appointment of all referees and referee coaches.

USA Rugby Referees Leadership Structure:

National Office
Ed Todd, Director, Referee Department

High Performance
Richard Every, High Performance Referee Manager
Patrick McNally, Sevens Referee Manager
Fred Thomas, Appointments 
Mike Cobb, Match Official Technical Director
Zone Managers, Don Pattalock, Mike Geach, Al Klemp, Jem McDowall

Rules & Laws - Community
Bruce Carter, Chairman
Charlie Haupt, Secretary
Peter Watson, Laws
Steve Parrill, Training
Dave Metcalfe, Evaluations 
Ed Todd, Selection

SERRS AGM presentations posted to the Referee Development section of website (requires login)

Guidance on Single Toe Studs

Please see attached photographs of a boot with a single toe stud configuration that is being purchased for use in playing Rugby. This is illegal under Law 4.4 (j) and players should not be permitted to play with boots with that sole configuration Please note that any Adidas boots with this configuration have not been designed or sold as a Rugby product.

2011 Referee Promotions

Congratulations to the following SERRS Referees on their promotion:

Curtis Etheridge - promoted to Territorial Panel

Cliff Ramsdell - promoted to L1

Paul Landry - promoted to L1

Jonathan Botha - promoted to L2

Jenn Pilat - promoted to L3

Jed Shropshire - promoted to L3


New Guidance on Concussion from IRB


For Immediate Release

June 9, 2011


BOULDER, Colo. The International Rugby Board (IRB) has amended Regulation 10, specifically the protocol for diagnosing and managing concussion.  Featured in the amendments are concrete steps to return to play and the requirement for players to be cleared by a medical practitioner before their return to play.

The IRB said in a release last week, “An amendment to Regulation 10, approved by the IRB Council at its Special Meeting of Council in Dublin on Tuesday, May 24, has paved the way for a new robust set of guidelines surrounding concussion that will enhance the protection of players at all levels of the Game.” 

USA Rugby Director of Medical Services and Chairman of the Medical and Safety Committee said, “These regulations are a step in the right direction.  We in the USA are in a unique position as many of our state laws dictate the process of return to play. 

Grounded in extensive research to increase understanding, the new guidelines are now available at the IRB’s dedicated Player Welfare

It is important to note that Regulation 10 and state laws might not be entirely aligned, although they have the common end goal of keeping players, particularly youth players, healthy and safe.  It is recommended that club administrators and coaches know their state laws and understand that state law will trump IRB regulations in cases in which protocol is different.

Click here to read the guidelines in full.


Reminder to ARs


The contentious quick-throw that led to a try for Wales in the Wales-Ireland 6 Nations Game is shown and discussed at the South Africa Referees web-site

It is a reminder to Assistant Referees to keep their eyes on the ball until it returns to play, and have methods of signaling quick-throw allowed or not allowed to the ref.


Updated USA Rugby Game Management Guidelines issued

USA Rugby has issued updated Game Management Guidelines. These can be found in the Downloads page (for members only) under Referee Resources. The guidelines for assistant referees have not yet been updated.

Referees are also requested to review the video on game management guidelines issued by the IRB. You can view this at . The videos were presented at the IRB High Performance Referee Meeting in London in November 2010.

Additional clarification from USA National Panel Referee Manager: There seems to have been some confusion with the "Saddle Roll", as the Guidelines were not exactly clear.

The player that is being "Rolled", is the player that arrives first at the TACKLE and is still on their feet, crouching over the ball, but not in contact with players on the ground. Not lying on players on the ground, and not holding onto players on the ground. A RUCK HAS NOT FORMED. An opponent may then "Roll" that player as indicated in the illustrations. This technique is widely used in Sevens rugby and may not be that common in Fifteens. 

Players that seal or bind onto players on the ground at the Tackle should be penalized.

IRB Directive on Dangerous Tackles (Released January 21, 2011)

A further IRB Directive on Dangerous Tackles was released on January 21, 2011. 

Georgia High School Rugby Referee Assignments - announcement from Phil Sheehan

We are in the final run up to the start of the 2011 GA high school rugby season. The first weekend of play will begin on Friday, Feb 11 and continue through April 16 with the state chanpionship matches. In all, there will be 75 matches. The number of clubs this year is 20 (12 boys competitive, 4 boys developmental and 4 girls competitive)located in Cobb County, Cherokee County, Fulton, County, DeKalb County, Gwinnett County and Augusta. Matches are primarily on Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons, but there are a few mid week matches scheduled.

Referee assignments will be a little different this season as three teams, Walton, Alpharetta Phoenix and Milton are part of SERRS and as such, their home matches will have referee assignments made by Nigel. They will be included in his weekly scheduled released each Sunday night. I will continue to make assignments, based on the volunteer availability of referees, for the remainder of the clubs. I will begin contacting you on Monday mornings following Nigel's schedule distribution. As the GHSRA is trying to utilize the same venue for multiple matches to maximize referee coverage, I may ask those covering the SERRS HS matches if they would also like to handle another HS match either before or after the SERRS match.

I know that there will be great demands on your time to cover the many club and collegiate matches this spring. I hope that you can be available for some of the HS matches as well. I appreciate all the work that you did last season. The inclimate weather caused many rainouts and postponments and, because of your flexibility, we were able to complete all matches.

We have lost some referees in the Atlanta area from last season, but I am very happy to announce that several new people have stepped forward and expressed interest in handling matches. I would like to welcome Eric Pfeifer, Devin Smith, Ari Levine, Archie Japaridze, and Michael Thompason to the group. Brent Vickers who helped out in the Athens area last season has agreed to do so again ( at least that's what Dustin says). Thanks to Brent.

Several of the new referees are very new, so I may ask a more experienced referee to attend one of their matches to observe and advise. I encourage all new referees to consider joining SERRS. There is an excellent mentoring and coaching program as part of the overall referee development initiative.

I will be sending out the schedule to all on this distribution list during the next week. Dustin has sent out some final modifications and I will incorporate those into my match list.

Again, thanks to all who have assisted in the past. I look forward to working with you this season.

Phil Sheehan


SERRS Dues - announcement from Bill Gillis

SERRS Dues are now payable for 2011. Here is a message from our Treasurer, Bill Gillis:

Folks it is that time again. Dues are due now for the 2011 Season.

Full time refs: Does 4 or more games per year. = $100

Part time refs: Does 3 or less games per year. = $50

Youth Refs: Age 18yrs or less. = $50

Assessors: You know who you are! = $50

Social members who are great people who just want to support the society and want to send us some coin. = Anything will do but $50 would be nice.

Please do not wait for games to accumulate before you try to get credit for dues. But no one will get any cash from us if you have not paid, we get our bit first.



SERRS recently held its Annual General Meeting in Columbia, SC.  Under the by-laws half of the officer positions were up for election.  The new SERRS Board is listed under About SERRS.


SERR Referees on National Panel

SERRS Referees Ed Gardner and Gareth Morgan have been appointed to the USA Rugby National Panel.



Econmist article on Rugby in America:


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