Every Day is Rugby Day in SA. Part 2

[Part 1]

Tuesday 3/18 (Day 5)

On Tuesday I had my first Trappe (stairs) and Vision lab sessions! In the afternoon all five of us went to Paul Roos again for U14-U19 trials. In total we walked for over 2 hours back and forth between the stadium, our house, and lunch/dinner.

Trappe today was:
8 x large steps up every 1 min, walk back
8 x small steps up, walk back
Run to other end, snake back

Snake is taking every set of stairs up and down, snaking through the stadium until we reach the gap in the stands on the other side, and then doing the same thing back to the beginning.

The path of a snake.
The path of a snake.
Up up up, down down down.
Up up up. Down down down.
Done for the day.
Done for the day.

The vision lab is a big room with multiple stations that help train and improve our peripheral vision, brain-hand-eye-leg coordination, ability to multitask, and reaction time. It’s a lot of fun! First we do eye warm ups which involves holding our hands in different arrangements and looking back and forth between left and right thumbs multiple times. Then we spend an hour in the room going around to these stations:

  • Half Bosu ball balance + read numbers and sports on a chart out loud, throw tennis ball at spot on chart
  • Half Bosu ball balance + move arms in directions of big & small arrows & read numbers on chart
  • The Micro Buttons – like a mini, 2’x2’ whack-a-mole on the wall. How many can you press in 60sec?
  • Ping pong ball shooter – catch as many ping pong balls shot at you, your face, your feet, away from you, as you can
  • The Pro Buttons – large version of whack-a-mole wall. More difficult for me since I need to sort of leap in order to reach the corner buttons, and stand closer in order to reach, so my peripheral range is smaller than if I could stand farther away. Lots of fun and sweat though!
  • SVT – how fast can you push 40 red dots that appear in series randomly  on a grid?
  • Squishy pad 1 leg balance + visually track number, winding arrow, number out loud
  • Squishy ball 1 leg balance + read horizontally arranged numbers on a chart out loud
  • Squishy ball 1 leg balance + read vertically arranged numbers on a chart out loud
  • Skateboard Balance (future: + catch and pass balls with trainer)

Sometimes the trainer, Grant, throws balls at the wall near your station for added sensory input.

Vision stations.
Vision stations.

Wednesday 3/19  (Day 6)

Our first speed and agility session was scheduled for 7am but it was cancelled when we woke up before 6:30 and it was raining. Woohoo more sleep! There was 9am gym session, 10am vision lab, 11am mental session, lunch, more trials at Paul Roos, and then instead of dinner the 5 of us split refereeing Maties club rugby practice scrimmages.

Feedback from the trials included:

  • A penalty awarded to the defending team near their own in goal is where the infringement occurred, not “moved out” to the 5m line like it is for the attacking team. I didn’t know that – thanks!
  • Make primary signals immediately! Don’t run to the mark first.
  • White noise: say only what’s necessary. (I was vocalizing my checklists.) “Less is best” – Marius
  • Stand closer to the tunnel for LO. (I was about 4ft away.) ~2ft is enough to still see the thrower but be in a better position to actually see the tunnel and judge the straightness of the throw instead of guessing or using jumpers arms as indicators.
  • Don’t bend at rucks. (Hendrik said if I keep bending he’ll stick a broom up my ass so that I won’t be able to bend hahaha ok I’ll fix it before that!) He says 1 step out will be enough to widen my view.
One of the practice fields behind the Maties Stadium
One of the practice fields behind the Maties Stadium

(and one for Instragram)

Thursday 3/20 (Day 7)

In the morning we had bergpad, vision lab, law session, then gym session. After lunch Kahlil and Evan reffed 2 U13 games at Eikestad Primary while Geoff and I watched from above in the club house. The law session focused on offsides, tackles, and breakdowns, whose laws are there to protect space. We discussed theory and watched clips. It was a good 2 hrs of building clear pictures. Some highlights:

  • Protect space!!!
  • IRB made a ruling on “when the ball is out” for all rucks, mauls, scrums – when it crosses the last feet
  • Tool for toolkit: quick whistle at breakdown. Otherwise if you let a mess go on for too long you’ll eventually find an infringement – what they call a “referee’s penalty”
  • Watch for offside even when a ball is kicked to touch, preventing a quick throw in
  • Set standards at firsts
  • Don’t try to create a game as a referee. Players create a game.
  • Sareferees.co.za has a clip archive for every law. Use this resource!

On the drive over to the afternoon games, Hendrik went over all the U13 law variations in SA. I know I mentioned some before but here they are again in a more organized presentation:

  • Lineouts
    • 3m from touch
    • 5m offside for backs
    • Full lineout always required (only fwds, so no mismatch fwds on backs)
    • For a maul, everyone in the lineout must join
  • Scrums
    • “Crouch, bind, scrum”
    • Offside for defending 9 is the tunnel

It’s pretty awesome that even some primary schools in SA have a clubhouse which overlooks their rugby pitch. I was feeling very sophisticated and proper, sitting in high chairs with Geoff, sipping red tea and coffee, watching the games from above.


Friday 3/21 (Day 8)

Friday was Human Rights Day – a public holiday in South Africa! For us that meant we were off to Paarl Gimnasium for a rugby tournament :) Each of the academy students had 3 games, and we were also joined by other refs, John, Neil, Marlin, Jason, TJ, and a few more. Some are previous academy students and others are friends in the area or refs who’ve “been around for a while”. I had 3 games – a U15s then 2 U19s. The clubhouse at the venue was excellent! – It had a country club feel to it and had a never ending supply of a huge selection of small portions of foods.  There were small, soft, crust-less, triangle sandwhiches, mango, organge pineapple, and apple juice, tea, coffee, meatballs with delicious mustard, grilled chicken, and some vegetables. Mmmmmm. There were 4 pitches in the back, a parking lot with snack/food truck, kids, and family everywhere. The club house was full of lawn chairs and tables inside, and the outdoor deck seats overlooked the front 2 full-size rugby pitches with the stands to the left. Super rugby was also on TV at the bar inside.


The tournament ended around 4PM and we headed home. After dinner we watched the IRE v NZ game since Kahlil hadn’t seen it yet (whaaaaat definitely a MUST WATCH for everyone!!) and then Captain America.

Every Day is Rugby Day in SA. Part 2

2 thoughts on “Every Day is Rugby Day in SA. Part 2

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