The match officials team for the new US ProRugby league has been revealed.
With 30 matches in the new structure starting next weekend (17 April) through to the end of July, ProRugby have contracted five full time referees who will be supported by 3 non-contracted assistant referees.
Each referee is due to oversee six matches and AR 8-9 matches with the three dedicated AR’s working 6-9 matches each. The team will be managed by Richard Every, the Match Official Manager at PRO Rugby and supported by Rob Debney, former full time referee in the English Premiership.
The Professional Rugby Organization (PRO) comprises five teams located in Denver, Ohio, Sacramento, San Diego and San Francisco, and is the first competition to be sanctioned by USA Rugby and World Rugby. The mission is to grow the game and provide opportunities for players to train and compete in a full-time, high-performance environment. That follows through into the new match officials structure.
The officials group met in Denver last Monday, (April 11th) to determine the approach to the new season. Their goals are: Clarity at the breakdown, more space to play the game in, positive scrums and efficient advantage.
In a bid to apply scrum laws more effectively, the group will be applying a strict approach to applying Law 20, especially in speeding up the formation, alignment and engagement process. Free Kicks will be awarded if a team delays formation within 30 seconds, incorrectly sets up, doesn’t crouch with ear to ear, incorrect binding, remaining square and steady, and, of course, for a non-credible feed.
To help every game reach a definitive result, the PRO Rugby league will have a 10 minute period of sudden death extra time if the match is drawn at 80 minutes. Only after that 10 minute spell will a game be drawn. World Rugby have also approved the use of a law trial where a team that has been awarded a Penalty Kick after time expired, they may kick for touch and play the lineout.
Speaking to RugbyReferee.net, Richard Every, the Match Official Manager at PRO Rugby said, “If we are successful in our application and scrums are set up correctly, it should provide more ball in play. A team effort is required by the officials to maintain the expected standards. As a group we have agreed on the principles and guidelines with the teams. It is our goal to provide a product that will appeal to current rugby fans and attract new ones.”
The first weekend’s matches sees Derek Summers oversee Ohio’s trip to Denver. He will be assisted by Leah Berard and Marc Nelson. Nick Ricono then whistles the Sacrameto v San Francisco match assisted by Scott Green and George O’Neil.