Blue 5 – 75 Gold
Played in good conditions on an excellent pitch.
Standing with your hands on hips (as seen in video from last match)
Standing at back of line-out
Positioning at front of lineout on attacking side
Focusing on whistle tone
Slowing down cadence of scrum
Using clear primary and secondary – don’t rush it
Focusing on first 15 minutes to set the standard high
Visualise kick-off in the changing room to get myself in the right mode
Being assertive and being decisive at the breakdown
Obviously a very one sided match. Gold got their bonus point within the first 10 minutes of the game, playing uphill! This continued to lead to a 0-51 score at half time. The second half (especially the first 10) were far more closely competed and more enjoyable to referee. The final quarter was very heated with two yellow cards and a large scuffle as frustrations and fatigue both started to set in, but overall a game played in good spirit.
I was concerned, after three weeks of a horrid virus, that my fitness would be an issue. I was probably a little slower to some points of play, but not a problem overall. In fact I may have been a little lazy when I was trying to consciously make sure I would last the 80.
Only the camera will tell if I stopped putting my hands on my hips. My body language overall has certainly improved, but the hips thing is completely subconscious and I am not aware of whether I stopped doing it or not.
I stood at the back on the line-out just once when there was some complaining in previous line outs about closing the gap. Other than that I positioned myself on the attacking side roughly opposite the defending scrum half. I did, once or twice end up on the defending side by mistake (doh!). I also focused on more positive positional movement, tracking the ball back once it was in.
Whistle tone is such a simple thing, but is still something I need to focus on. It correlates more with how I feel about the situation in front of me rather than the call that I have made. It’s difficult to explain. But I know I still have work to do. At least once or twice a match the offending team at a penalty have not realised that a penalty, rather than a scrum has been given. More effort required.
Scrum cadence was far better this time. However, Blue went uncontested towards the end of the first half which is always disappointing, but was definitely the right call from a safety perspective.
Like the whistle tone, I still need to think more carefully about clarity and cadence of primary and secondary signals. Improvement yesterday, but still a work in progress.
Visualisation went well in the changing room, but didn’t translate completely into a strong 15 minutes. There was nothing particularly wrong with the first 15, but it still takes me a good 5 minutes to get into the swing of the match. The first 15 of the second half is less of an issue.
I also used the half-time to reflect on the match and what would be happening. Gold would be playing downhill so the trend of the first half was likely to continue. A tired Blue team playing uphill would be desperate to kill the ball and slow down the pace of the game – watch for this at the breakdown. We were to continue with uncontested scrums, so clean ball was going to be available quickly – keep on your toes and think about positioning away from the scrum to give me the best chance of following play. I was wrong! Blue came out and actually started to play, putting Gold under a lot of pressure and making a real impression on the game. But at least the reflection at half time made me think.
The breakdown was reasonable well managed. I think I was better in the last match, but I still controlled it more often than not. There are still more occasions than I would like when the ruck becomes a brawl and I hesitate a few seconds too long, allowing the third or even fourth offence to happen before taking action.
In terms of general assertiveness and confidence, I felt I controlled the game well and worked well through the captains. I had a classic in the second half to the Hornets skipper – “Time off. Skipper – that’s three penalties in your 22 in the last 80 seconds. One there, one there and the last one there. All of them at the breakdown. It stops now please. Time is off. Please have a word so I don’t need to take any further action. Understood?”
I managed the YCs well and remembered to separate the players before dealing with the offenders.
I smiled a lot and had a great, enjoyable game. Good feedback from the coaches and captains afterwards.