Coaching Blog

Andrew McMaster writes about the Level of Officiating at Nations Cup

It's Thursday, June 16 and I've just roused myself to head to breakfast. Yesterday was matchday 2 here at the Nations Cup, in Bucharest, Romania. After breakfast, we will have a match officials meeting to go over any and all issues from yesterday's matches. All were close affairs, with Georgia pipping Argentina A 14-13; Romania coming up just short (despite some good opportunities late in the match) against the SA Kings (which is actually the regional franchise from the South-Eastern Cape and in 2013 will be playing in the Super Rubgy competition, replacing the lowest placed of the current SA franchises from next season); and lastly Namibia putting together a much-improved performance to beat Portugal 29-23. All three matches were well-contested and fast-paced in near-perfect conditions.

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Why I did what I did – OFSAA Boys AAA/AAAA Final

I have been asked by a number of people what happened in the OFSAA final and why I blew up breakdowns that looked as if Stouffville had won the ball. They probably had but they did not do it in a legal way.   As a referee I try to manage a game not officiate it with the iron will of a law book. Rather my mantra: is to provide a platform for athletes to be able to show off their talents to their best potential - if they so choose.   The final was a very frustrating game for me as a referee as per the outline below I tried all management tips I have learnt over nearly 18 years of high level officiating.   The key issues in this game were the habits of one team that are totally illegal in the game of rugby and quite clearly a taught behaviour. The tactic is what I call ‘Hinging” when the arriving player binds onto the tackled player with head an shoulders below hips in an attempt to ensure ball security. This however contravenes about six laws and principles in the game.   Here i ...

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The Breakdown

The Breakdown 

June 14

Coaches, players, referees and spectators are often on different pages when it comes to rugby. They see things from very different perspectives. But one thing all of these key stakeholders agree on is that the Breakdown (tackle and ruck) area is not fully understood. Many do not understand what they can or can't do, it happen so quickly and is so dynamic that many things can happen at once.

The follow series of clips have been provided to Rugby Canada by the Australian Rugby Union. They are the best video clips on the Tackle and Ruck that I have seen and should help all involved get a clearer picture of the Breakdown. 

Watch them in sequence to get a full understanding of this dynamic part of rugby. 


Tackle Definition

The Tackler

Tackled Players

Arriving Players

The Gate

Off-side at the Tackle

The Ruck


 Joining Players


Ball Out



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