World Rugby Clarification 8 of 2015 – Law Reference 3 – Sevens Variations

Clarification in Law by the Designated Members of Rugby Committee
Clarification 8 – 2015
Union Paddy O’Brien – HP Sevens Referee Manager
Law Reference 3 – Sevens Variations
Date December 8, 2015
Request: Paddy O’Brien has requested clarification on the minimum number of players needed to start a sevens match.
Clarification of the Designated Members of the Rugby Committee
The designated members have agreed that in exceptional circumstances a Union may authorise matches to be played with fewer than seven players in each team. When that happens, all the Laws of the Game apply except that each team must have a minimum of five players on the pitch (at least three players in the scrum at all times and a minimum of two backs).

World Rugby Law Clarifications 2015 – Law 3

The latest Clarification is attached. It addresses yet another iteration of the “what if” involved in front row replacements and is pretty clear. Please distribute to teams, unions, conferences and referees in your area.

150909 CL Law Clarification 6 2015 Front Row replacements [PDF]

Feel free to write me with any questions.

All the best,

Peter Watson
Chair, Law Committee

Game Management Guidelines Released for 2015


Please review the newly released Game Management Guidelines from USA Rugby for 2015:

The guidelines enable players and referees to have a clearer approach to the game and to be more consistent in Law application throughout the country, while also reflecting directives from World Rugby. The guidelines are to be distributed and applied nationally to all referees, referee performance reviewers, referee coaches, players/teams, coaches, and administrators for 2015.

Additionally, the first Sevens Game Management Guidelines have been introduced. They have been reviewed by World Rugby and given the green light.

Questions regarding the guidelines should be directed to USA Rugby High Performance Referee Manager Richard Every at

Get additional resources at the TRRA Resources page or on the USA Rugby Referee Resources page.

World Rugby Law Clarifications 2014 – 7, 8 and 9

Dear Regional and Local Referee Leaders,

Three Clarifications are attached:

# 7 addresses a player at the back of a scrum picking up the ball with their feet and “bunny hopping” – ILLEGAL.

# 8 addresses a drop out that goes all the way to the opponent’s in-goal area and asks if there are Variations in 7s similar to those for the kickoff – NO THERE ARE NOT.

# 9 asks about an attempted drop goal after a scrum that was chosen in lieu of a free kick (and then goes through the in-goal area) – TREAT AS A KICK IN GENERAL PLAY AND OFFER OPTIONS

There is really nothing surprising in any of them, but please circulate to the societies and referees in your area, as well as the Unions, conferences and teams.

All the best,

Peter Watson
Chair, Law Committee

2014/2015 USA Rugby Game Management Guidelines

USA Rugby Texas Rugby Referee AssociationPlease review the newly released Game Management Guidelines from USA Rugby for 2014-2015. Though the material is developed for referees, it is applicable to all stakeholders of the game including players and coaches. Please download the file and read through the updates:

USA Rugby Game Management Guidelines 2014-2015 [PDF]

Get additional resources at the TRRA Resources page or on the USA Rugby Referee Resources page.

Reminder on Scrum Cadence for 7s – NO “YES 9” or TAP

trra_logoJust a quick reminder as the sevens season has kicked off! For 7s the referee will not use “Yes 9”, Non-verbal tap, thumbs up or any variation.

Call CROUCH-BIND-SET. Sevens Referees will make sure that scrums are straight and square before calling “CROUCH”, then call “BIND”. The Referee will then make sure all 4 props have proper binds on their opposite numbers (up high on the back or arm), before calling “SET” (invitation to engage). All put ins by the scrum half must be straight down the middle.

We will not be calling “Yes 9″, “Yes 4″, or anything else to the scrum half. Sevens scrums by nature, are quick restarts and should proceed without delay. We do not want to slow down the game of Sevens, but will ensure a fair contest for possession (check for proper binds, straight put in).

This notice was originally posted 9/11/13, review here.

We’d also recommend to all referees, players, coaches and fans review the 7s IRB Law Variations each season.

TRRA Summer AGM – Aug 2, 2014 (SATURDAY) – Austin, TX

trra_logoThe Texas Rugby Referee Association (TRRA) Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held in Austin, TX on Aug 2, 2014 (SATURDAY). We will have special presentations from USA Rugby Referee  & West Zone Manager Marc Nelson along with our normal AGM topics!

What: TRRA Annual AGM (Agenda & Minutes)
When: Saturday, Aug 2, 2014 from 9am to 5pm
Where: Scholz Garten, Austin, TX

RSVP: Please RSVP by July 18, 2014, email If you do not RSVP, no lunch!

Live Stream

Like last year we will LIVE stream the AGM. We do not guarantee the quality of the video or audio, this is a BETA broadcast. Questions from viewers can be submitted via the Ustream Chat/Social Stream. WATCH the AGM here, broadcast will start tomorrow at approximately at 8:50am CST.


The TRU AGM will be Sunday, August 3, 2014 all are welcome to attend!

‘Brain Bin’ with Temporary Replacement – Clarification from IRB

irb-top-bannerThere seems to be some confusion about the use of a “Brain Bin” and I would like to help clear some of it up. The ‘Brain Bin’ is not endorsed by USA Rugby, and it is not recommended by the IRB for anything but Elite international play. It should not be used except at this level of play.



– The article viewable at the above website brings us all up to date. The article clearly states this procedure is in a TRIAL state for only INTERNATIONAL ELITE rugby. It is not policy. USA Rugby has not made any official endorsement of this trial and has not made any change in our policy.
– When used in international elite play, the only way a player can be returned to play is for a MEDICAL DOCTOR to administer a pitch side assessment that includes the Maddocks Questions (cognition), a balance assessment and a ‘symptoms and signs’ assessment. If the PHYSICIAN clears the player, the PHYSICIAN takes full responsibility for the medically cleared to play decision. The MW situation is much different: it is rare for us to have a ‘team physician’ on the sideline, and if they are present, most do not know what tests to administer nor realize the risk they are taking with ‘clearing’ an athlete. To repeat policy: Only a physician can clear an athlete to return to play. For a referee to take on this responsibility on the advice of other than a physician puts that referee in a huge risk zone.

IRB Regulation 10 continues to apply:
Regulation 10 features a two-pronged approach to protect players at both the elite and community levels. Where concussion is diagnosed, a player must be removed from the field of play and not return to play or train on the same day and must be guided through a dedicated return to play protocol.

All players with suspected concussion where there is no appropriately qualified person is present to diagnose concussion must be removed from the field of play and not return to play or train on the same day and should be reviewed by an appropriately qualified person and then should complete the graduated return to play protocol described in the IRB Concussion Guidelines

Summary. We all want fewer injuries, especially head injuries. Removing a player from play if there is any doubt is the safest way to realize that. A gradual return to play based on qualified medical assessments is the current policy and any decision to return to play is out of the referee’s hands. Until we get clearance from the IRB and USA Rugby on a policy change, we should not allow any time for a pitch side assessment for a questionable concussion in non-international elite games. That player comes off; period.

Please forward this to fellow referees and coaches.

Harry Laws, MD
IRB Medical Educator