“time on the sev­ens cir­cuit has en­er­gised me”

Rugby World - - Straight Feed -

LOVeD reF­er­ee­ING on the sev­ens cir­cuit in 2003-04. I went to ev­ery tour­na­ment in those years, cul­mi­nat­ing in the 2005 sev­ens World Cup in Hong Kong. When I heard that sev­ens would be an Olympic sport I im­me­di­ately started to dream about how spe­cial it would be to re­turn to the cir­cuit.

I have con­tin­ued to ref­eree test rugby and su­per rugby, in ad­di­tion to six tour­na­ments on the sev­ens se­ries, this year. much like any 15s player who de­sired to go to the Olympics, I needed to make my­self avail­able for the ma­jor­ity of this year’s se­ries. so it’s been a de­mand­ing year from a travel per­spec­tive. Hav­ing had the ex­pe­ri­ence 12 years ago, I knew there were some nu­ances I’d need to get up to speed on. I joined a very ex­pe­ri­enced and strong group of ref­er­ees and ar­rived with an at­ti­tude of want­ing to re­learn those nu­ances from these men and women.

the team of ref­er­ees on the sev­ens cir­cuit is a very close-knit group, it’s what I love about the sev­ens en­vi­ron­ment. teams and ref­er­ees travel to­gether, share ho­tels, eat to­gether, train to­gether and we truly feel like a ‘sev­ens fam­ily’. spend­ing weeks trav­el­ling and learn­ing to­gether al­lows us to mould a strong team cul­ture. paddy O’brien (sev­ens high-per­for­mance man­ager) was very frank with me from the out­set, say­ing that not only would I need to prove my­self on-field from a per­for­mance per­spec­tive but I’d need to fit into the cul­ture and team en­vi­ron­ment.

For­tu­nately I im­me­di­ately ap­pre­ci­ated and en­joyed the en­vi­ron­ment and all were wel­com­ing of me. the lure of go­ing to the Games was my ini­tial driver but the time I’ve spent on the cir­cuit has en­er­gised me and it’s an en­vi­ron­ment I love.

On the field, I have found that the great­est dif­fer­ence and chal­lenge has been around the speed of the break­down and there­fore the need to make quick de­ci­sions to al­low the game to main­tain flow and shape. In 15s the sheer num­bers and size of the ath­letes means the con­test for the ball is more about sur­viv­ing the col­li­sion of the clean-outs, whereas in sev­ens it’s of­ten a one-on-one con­test. to en­sure you con­trib­ute to a pos­i­tive game shape, you need to be sharp and swift to re­ward play­ers who get in good po­si­tions.

An­ther in­ter­est­ing jour­ney for me has been around my phys­i­cal pro­file. Wear­ing Gps

itech­nol­ogy has al­lowed the ex­perts at the prime Hu­man per­for­mance In­sti­tute in Dur­ban to help me to de­vise train­ing prac­tices which pre­pare me for the dif­fer­ent phys­i­cal de­mands of sev­ens. the data shows that ref­er­ee­ing sev­ens re­quires more longer, high-in­ten­sity sprints than 15s, so there has been a real fo­cus from my team to de­vise train­ing habits that con­di­tions me for this.

the other im­por­tant com­po­nent is to have ef­fec­tive strate­gies around long-haul travel, both from a phys­i­cal well­be­ing per­spec­tive and the re­al­i­ties of jet lag. then there are the ob­vi­ous de­mands of ref­er­ee­ing three games a day, which calls for a pro­fes­sional strat­egy around warm­ing up and cool­ing down (ice baths, mas­sages, etc). back­ing that up on day two is so im­por­tant as we go into the busi­ness end of a tour­na­ment. I have loved the phys­i­cal chal­lenges sev­ens ref­er­ee­ing pro­vides.

Whilst ref­er­ee­ing across in­ter­na­tional rugby, su­per rugby and the world sev­ens cir­cuit has made for an in­cred­i­bly busy year, I’ve found re­turn­ing to test matches af­ter ref­er­ee­ing sev­ens a fairly easy ad­just­ment. I guess it’s be­cause I’ve ref­er­eed 15s for so long now that in some ways it’s sec­ond na­ture.

I’ve found it more chal­leng­ing go­ing from 15s to sev­ens. I’m more con­scious of the need to be sharp and swift in my de­ci­sion-mak­ing in sev­ens when re­turn­ing from time in test-match rugby and su­per rugby.

Keep­ing pace Jou­bert watches NZ’s teddy stan­away

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.