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    Question Pre-match 'talk'

    So, it's likely that I will be reffing my first match this Saturday.

    I'm used to reffing (I'm a qualified FA ref), taken my ELRA, and studied the law book, and joined my local society.

    What I'm wondering though, is what to actually say during a pre-match 'chat', and who exactly to talk to.

    I've seen games where the ref talks to each entire team separately. Others just speak to the front row. Others get the captain in, others the scrum half.

    I'm presuming that each ref has particular areas they want to clarify with the people involved, but as a new ref, I don't really have this. (yet?)

    So, any advice on who to speak to, and what I should be saying? Saying stuff for the sake of it, that they've all heard 100 times before seems a little pointless. Any tips?

    I'm also presuming that you wouldn't advise that I tell them it's my first game in charge

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    Default Re: Pre-match 'talk'

    LOts of advuice about to come your way but from the plaing end of things the typical biut I see is

    * FR briefing
    * S/H chat about where to take taps and reminding them of straight feeds
    * F/H chat about 10 at lineouts

    I also presume there is a bit of stall setting with a skipper.

    As a coach I try to let him do his job while he lets me get on with mine :-)

    didds

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    Default Re: Pre-match 'talk'

    Good luck and welcome to the 'dark side'.

    Pre match brief keep it short and sweet players aren't listening and don't care what you say.

    For me I do studs then ask for front row and 9/10 to stay behind, very quick briefing to front row most important bit for me is check they are suitably trained and experianced, tell the 9 about quick taps for PK and the 10 to look after 5 m and 10m at scrum and line out.

    All takes about 90 seconds.

    At the toss remind skippers that they are responsible for their players discpline.

    That's it

    Good luck again

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    Default Re: Pre-match 'talk'

    Quote Originally Posted by Toby Warren View Post
    Good luck and welcome to the 'dark side'.

    Pre match brief keep it short and sweet players aren't listening and don't care what you say.
    I think they do care - but you are right about short and sweet. However, players HAVE heard it all a million times, so its more (IMO) a chance to draw the lines you want in the sand and for them to check what idiosyncracies you have eg interpretation of whether engage starts on the "E" or ends on the "GE" ;-)

    didds

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    Default Re: Pre-match 'talk'

    Great stuff, Psychic. It sounds like you are going into this pretty cold - did you ever player the game?

    At the briefing, less is more IMO. The indispensible bit is telling the front rows (#1-#3, and any replacements) how you will manage the scrum engagement - that's a safety requisite to validate your insurance; don't ever be tempted to let it slide, even if you did the same team last week and they know your speech by heart. Everything else is there to help you help them to get a decent game going, and will cover the bits that experience suggests different refs manage differently.

    I call together the 9, 10, front row and (crucially) FR replacements. I start with #10: all I need from you is to keep your guys onside at scrums and lineouts. At lineouts, I'll raise my hand if you have to stay back after the ball is secured, and bring it down when you can come up to the back foot. Can't give you any help at scrums. When the ball's at #8's feet, I'll look up and if you've kept them back 5m, we're both happy. OK?

    Scrum Half: you'll put it into the scrum nice and straight; Hooker? You'll keep your foot out of the tunnel until the ball's in. #9, if you want to take a quick tap, do it where I can see you, and within 1m of the mark. I may pull you back if there's a safety issue I need to deal with. I'll give you licence to dig the ball out of rucks, and protect you 'til the ball is clear of the ruck; but if it's there to be played, keep your hands off it until you are ready to distribute. If you put a hand on and then look around for options, the ball is out.

    Front rows: what you'll get from me is CTPE - pretty much at that sort of speed unless we get problems - I'm not looking to catch you out. Don't come togetehr until the E of Engage. What I'm looking for from you guys is: square and steady; no-one up, no-one down, no-one in, no-one out. OK? Any questions?

    [You then get the captain, who's a back row, asking whether hands-on = ball out. You refer him to what you've just told the SH, and clarify (especially at beginners level) that the ball is out when the SH takes it behind the last foot, or it squirts out of its own accord].

    You are right - don't tell 'em its Game 1 - at least until the end. You will make loads of mistakes, and doubts will arise that you've never even considered in the theory-based training. DON'T PANIC - this is entirely normal. Make a decision and stick with it to the end of the game. If you end up with both defences 15m behind the scrums, it's the same for both sides. It takes at least 6 games (and more likely an entire season) for patterns to start imprinting themselves on your brain so the arm goes out insitnctively. In tyour initial games, you'll have to think about each situation, and while thinking you'll find three more thngs have just happened, and you are constantly playing catch-up while feeling hopelessly out of control. This is exhausting! But it's a necessary hurdle to getting better.

    Good luck with your first game; let us know how you get on.
    Don't feed the pedant!

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    Default Re: Pre-match 'talk'

    Quote Originally Posted by Toby Warren View Post
    Pre match brief keep it short and sweet players aren't listening and don't care what you say.
    Hi Psychic,

    as mentioned above - welcome and good luck...

    I have to totally disagree with Toby (remarkable that I would disagree with someone ), but I give a VERY DETAILED briefing with the ENTIRE team before every match. I have found that preemptive management BEFORE the game starts makes my life MUCH easier during the game.

    I deal with:
    - front rows: CPTE, bind, body position, hooker's feet and purposely wheeling
    - S/H: when the ball is out of a ruck, feeding, staying behnd the ball at scrum
    - F/H: maintaing offside line at scrum and LO
    - ALL: quick taps, expectation at breakdown (release and especially offside lines)
    - skippers: discipline and remind all that only captain has opportunity to clarify - not question

    I then invite any questions...normally a couple...

    This whole process normally takes no more than 2 or 3 minutes - and I have found it HUGELY beneficial. However, this is only MY approach...different things work for different people..

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    Default Re: Pre-match 'talk'

    All the above is great but I'll just ass some really obvious things that I learned when very new.

    - note what position each captain plays in so you can more easily pick him out amongst his team-mates 20 mins later when you have completely forgotten what he looks like (!)

    - make sure you get all the FR replacements at the start and count them. You want them all to be briefed, you will now when uncontested is imminent, and it's not much fun if new, unbriefed, supposedly STE players, present themselves late in match.

    - if you don't have appointed ARs don't forget to find your TJs in advance.

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    Default Re: Pre-match 'talk'

    Quote Originally Posted by RugbyGeek View Post
    Hi Psychic,

    as mentioned above - welcome and good luck...

    I have to totally disagree with Toby (remarkable that I would disagree with someone ), but I give a VERY DETAILED briefing with the ENTIRE team before every match. I have found that preemptive management BEFORE the game starts makes my life MUCH easier during the game.

    I deal with:
    - front rows: CPTE, bind, body position, hooker's feet and purposely wheeling
    - S/H: when the ball is out of a ruck, feeding, staying behnd the ball at scrum
    - F/H: maintaing offside line at scrum and LO
    - ALL: quick taps, expectation at breakdown (release and especially offside lines)
    - skippers: discipline and remind all that only captain has opportunity to clarify - not question

    I then invite any questions...normally a couple...

    This whole process normally takes no more than 2 or 3 minutes - and I have found it HUGELY beneficial. However, this is only MY approach...different things work for different people..
    I've seen a trend of briefing the whole team devlop (my 1st XV's (L10) last 2 games for example) I watched with interest and noted that on all 4 briefings ie home and away teams 4-5 people were listening 4-5 half listening 4-5 miling around talking to each other passing the ball etc and 2-3 nowhere near ie they were in the changing room getting strapped etc.

    How do you get them all to listen?
    What if you miss one or two late comers do you repeat the talk (if not why not)
    Don't you feel making the whole team stand around for 3 minutes makes it all about you before the game?

    Also the points you raise you can raise with front row and 9 and 10 why on earth would a 2nd row be interested in off side lines at a l/o and quick taps!

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    Default Re: Pre-match 'talk'

    Quote Originally Posted by RugbyGeek View Post
    I deal with:
    - front rows: CPTE, bind, body position, hooker's feet and purposely wheeling - S/H: when the ball is out of a ruck, feeding, staying behnd the ball at scrum.
    I know many refs who take the "entire team" route - it's not for me, but we all find our own path to what works. I'm interested in the bold red bits: What do you tell them about purposely wheeling? Just that it's perfectly legal, or do you coach them as to the particular wheling techniques you will ping? Doesn't this risk them finding a new illegal way you haven't told them about? And why do you only deal with the SH offside at the scrum? Why not (since you've got them all together) all the other offside lines that will come up during the game, not to mention the odd offsides such as in front of the man who last played it, retreating from where the ball will land, etc?
    Don't feed the pedant!

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    Default Re: Pre-match 'talk'

    Quote Originally Posted by Toby Warren View Post
    How do you get them all to listen?
    What if you miss one or two late comers do you repeat the talk (if not why not)
    Don't you feel making the whole team stand around for 3 minutes makes it all about you before the game?
    Hi Toby,

    Valid points...

    I get them all to stand in a circle, with me in the middle...I'd rather have it be about me BEFORE the game, rather than during or AFTER it....to date, I have found them all pretty engaged..

    If someone new comes on, I check if he was in the briefing - if not, I ask the skipper to take 30 seconds to brief him. I realise this may slow things down a bit, but less so than constantly being on the whistle because the new guy is transgressing...

    As mentioned in previous posts, I am still quite new to reffing, and so assume this process will optimise itself over time - but for now it definitely helps me.

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