Archives for July 2012

USA Rugby South Championships 7/21/12

USA Rugby South 7s Championship 2012 Ormond Beach, Florida

On Saturday, July 21st,  at the Ormond Beach Sports Complex five teams met in the men’s open division to decide what 2 teams would travel to San Francisco on Aug. 4th & 5th  to represent USA Rugby South Territorial Union at the 7s National Championship. Charlotte won the 5 team round robin part of the tournament beating the host team (Daytona Beach) 19-12 , Atlanta Old White 24-10, Jacksonville 59-0, and Miami Cabana Boys 25-14  – or thereabouts. Daytona beat Charlotte in a play-off 26-19 to win 1st place in the tournament.

I think  the biggest story of the tournament is the lack of participation. Why were there only 5 teams in the championship division, and not one team from Deep South , Palmetto, or Mid-South Unions participated? The tournament was advertsied as open to 16 teams in the championship division. Not one team from the Mid-South  clubs in Little Rock, Memphis, Knoxville, Huntsville, Nashville,  Chattanooga came. Not one team from the Palmetto Union clubs  located in Columbia, Greenville, Augusta, Charleston, Asheville came. From the teams in the Deep South  (New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Jackson, Mobile, Pensacola, Montgomery, Okaloosa, Panama City, Tallahassee and Birmingham) nobody bothered to come.  Sevens in the South started with the Kreb’s Brothers in Birmingham. There is some history and tradition here, for Pete’s sake!

This is a tournament that allows the top 2 teams to compete in a national championship. There is tremendous opportunity for everything from national recognition and glory and honor to at least a great party in San Francisco. Some of the better Florida teams (Naples, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale) didn’t bother organizing a team for the 4-5 hour drive and a day’s run about in Ormond Beach.

Why was it so unattended?

 Is the cost in both time and money of going to the tournament too much? Does the time already committed to rugby during the 15’s season have people burned out? Are people from the South just not interested in going to  San Francisco? publisher (Fran “El Hombre” Thompson) proposed that most teams were afraid of a 59-0 spanking like Jacksonville received from Charlotte.

For future USA South championship tournaments every local area union should send at least one team. It could rotate through the clubs. For example in the Deep South Union once every ten years or so Panama City would have to send a team to the South Championships . You could go more often if you want, but when your time came your team had to go. If it is your turn to get a 59-0 thrashing,  then pull up your socks and make it look good for the 14 minutes of the match.

If you have an answer or an opinion on why this tournament was so unattended send it to to be posted with this article.


From Charles Dube (7/25/12) President of Deep South Union  

Seeing how on September 1, 2012 there will only be two LAUs left from the South TU you might need to rethink your every LAU send a team approach.    Dube (President Deep South Union)

Email from Peter Steyn (7/25/12)  – Competitions Director USA Rugby South

I can address some of the issues regarding 7’s participation. Ultimately, the 7’s season for the vast majority of our clubs is a social season. That explains why KNOX, MEM, NASH, were at Pitch-a-Tent 7’s with us (CHAT) last weekend. New Orleans ran the table again as they did last year, the turn around into a 7’s season is tough, both in terms of $$ and time. I have never seen a D3 team in these finals unless they were the host, so there’s a whole bunch of clubs gone. Old White, Daytona, and Charlotte are clubs that have a tradition of supporting 7’s (and Life at times) so they will always be there. The South went to a super qualifying system a few years ago because the previous format of regional qualifiers was losing attendance. Why make the usual attendees travel all over the South, clubs whose appearance in the finals is almost guaranteed. So hold a SQ, give the limited number of clubs interested a one off event and move on. As we move into the GU format, I anticipate that GU’s will hold their own competitions which may in fact revive interest. Until then, what you saw has been the norm for several years.   Peter L. Steyn

In phone conversation (July 25, 2012) with Kevin Kitto (President of USA Rugby South)

Kevin expressed his disappointment at the turnout both from teams and spectators.  The hope had been that with 7s becoming an Olympic Sport in 2016 that interest in 7s would be on a rapid increase, but this does not seem to be the case – at least in the South. Kevin feels that for the top players in the South the tournament and the South region in general is a dead end . The tournament in Ormond Beach and the national finals in San Francisco will provide little to no opportunity for recognition and selection to a national side. The probable players to represent the USA in national 7s competitions are already selected and being paid to train  in California. To crack into this elite group players need to move outside the South. Top youth rugby players have 2 options in the South for university, Arkansas State or Life; otherwise, they need to move to attend another Division 1A university (see link for Division 1A universities ) if they want a chance at national selection. Kevin theorized that many people do not come to watch 7s because of the reputation rugby has developed in years past for beer drinking, nudity, & pot smoking. Frustration was evident in Kevin’s voice as he spoke of the almost hopeless situation talented rugby players find themselves in the South if they want a chance at selection to a national team but also wish to stay in this part of the country.

Dube’s reply via email July 27,2012

 I think there are a lot of things going on in the US right now that are really causing the Senior game to struggle.  New Orleans is the exception, but most of the Senior sides in the Deep South seem to be struggling with numbers and travel.  Guys taking multiple jobs, or being laid off and just quitting the game.  In the South in general we have always been somewhere that USA Rugby basically ignored from a National player pool standpoint.

    Kevin’s frustration is easy to understand.  However, when typical Southern powerhouses like Life and Renegades aren’t sending teams it certainly causes one to raise and eyebrow.  The rugby landscape in the US is changing so fast at the moment I am not sure if anyone really knows what will happen next year and what the Olympics Sevens inclusion will mean for growth where 15’s is concerned?  CHeers and have a great weekend, Dube
Email from Brian Richardson (Daytona Beach RFC & the tournament director)
 First I would like to say that Daytona won the South Championship beating Charlotte 26-19 in the play-offs. Charlotte did beat us in pool play 19-12 the first game of the day to make my life difficult.
History of South 7s Championship.  Attendance was poor because yes sevens is a social event.  There were 2 other social tournaments the weekend of the Championship and Beerfoot 7s the biggest social tournaement of the year is next week in Naples.  This year I had tried to attach the Social bracket to the tournament to gather a larger spectator base and expose the social teams to what is expected to move on to a national championship.  But without the other tournaments being blacked out teams chose different venues.  That is why I tried to set up a large interesting social after the tourney.
 Talent and Coaching is one thing.  Teams not used to the procedure and expectations if you do win a South Championship are another.  First it will cost roughly $12000 to get a team of 12 and a coach to San Francisco on less than 2 weeks notice.  The state of rugby in the USA is cemented in 15’s, even though 7’s is the wave of the future.  There are just to many social tournaments, their value is nil, and they give nothing back to their Territories, or LAU’s, they are only fundraisers for their clubs.
 Miami played Daytona down to the last second twice and once into overtime this summer and Jacksonville almost upset Miami earlier this summer.  But Neither team had been to an event where every game is the fight of your life.  Miami and Jacksonvilles performed well in their first two games and I hope they build from those points, and Miami almost beat OW in their 4th game, only to lose in the consolation for seeding 40-0.
 Daytona Beach was always Division 3 for years until we almost knocked off Life and OW in 2004 and 2005 in the South Championship.  We lost in the final seconds to both teams just missing going to nationals in 2006.  We fortunately had the determination to stick with it, recruit, make ourselves better, and fundraise.  Getting to Nationals was another eye opening experience when your club starts playing teams that have USA national players on their roster.  Daytona also had multiple players from Tampa Krewe, Miami, Naples, and Orlando transfer over to us to play 7s in the summer, that is why you did not see some of those clubs in name.  So if you are not a real Division 1 powerhouse or Superleague these events are eye opening especially when teams sub in players that are better and faster than the starters.   There are no seperate Divisions in USA Club 7s like Division 1,2,3, and superleague.
But getting to club Nationals has gotten 7 of the players I have coached invited to Eagle Camps, and more have been considered.  Now the territories also have an allstar venue for players to get noticed.  But their selection process runs in direct competition with clubs trying to qualify for nationals,  Did you see the South Selector there, no.  As well trying to learn two different systems from two different coaches leads to players being good in neither system.  Only one Daytona Beach Player will be on the South Allstar team.  Then USA rugby changes their rules from time to time.  I missed a deadline to enter my 2nd side into the competition, and my waiver was denied.  So there are so many pitfalls, hurdles, etc.  That teams must navigate, and sometimes learn the expensive and hard way. 
 Now after all that try to tell the 6 wives and girlfriends attending with their significant others that are paying $1000 togo to San Fran, no Ladies they have to go to bed please do not disturb them.

2012 Law Changes

Follow the Laws!!

From Steve Parrill | R&L Training Committee Chairman | USA Rugby
Southern Rugby Referee Association (SRRA) Chairman

Please see the attached Laws changes that will go into effect this fall. They have some pretty big changes going into play this year –  from the scrum moving to a three count to line out options being given in some new situations.Some do not apply until after 7’s is over.
I plan to follow it up with some local clarifications in another article. Set is going to be the new command to engage on the scrum call, and well won ruck ball will have a time limit on it.
Please see attached letter from USA rugby.


Sub-Committee on Laws

Peter Watson

2012 IRB Law Changes

May 2012

This week the IRB issued a number of small changes in Law.  Implementation dates vary – some go into effect now and others at the start of the next Fifteens season (September 1 or thereabouts).  The exact wording of the new Laws is in the attached document.

These changes are on a Trial Basis.  After some practical experience has been accumulated, the IRB will be soliciting Union opinions.

Effective immediately (actually went in last January 1)

Law 1 – The Ground

The two lines that delineate the beginning and end of lineouts – the five meter line and the fifteen meter line – are now to be dashed lines.  Formerly they were dotted.

Sevens Variations

Law 3.4 – Number of Players

A team may now nominate up to five replacements/substitutes and may use all of them.

Effective at or around September 1, 2012

These changes are not to be implemented in Sevens this summer.  They may be used in pre-season matches preparing for the fall 2012 league seasons.

Law 4.2 – Special additional items of clothing for women

Female players may wear cotton blend long tights with single inside leg seam under their shorts and socks.

This is pretty clear…if you are not female, don’t wear tights.  Please do not ask me the rationale for this as I am not a mind-reader.

Law 4.3 – Studs

In Law 4.4, single-toe replaceable studs are prohibited.  The IRB has approved, on a trial basis, one particular configuration of single-toe studs.  It is shown in the attached document.  All other forms are still illegal.

Law 9.B.1 – Taking a Conversion Kick

When a try is scored, the scoring team now has one and a half minutes (90 seconds) FROM THE TIME THE TRY IS SCORED to take the conversion.  This is playing time, so if there is an injured player who has to be treated or removed before the kick, time is off.

Law 12.1 – Outcome of a Knock-on or Throw Forward

If the ball is knocked-on or thrown forward into touch, the non-offending team may choose the lineout (where it crossed the touch line) or the scrum (where the knock occurred).  If they take a quick throw-in, they have made their choice.

And someone has already asked about knocks that go into touch-in-goal (or across the dead ball line).  That situation is covered by Law 12.1 (c) and this change is not applicable in that case.

Law 16.7 – Unsuccessful End to a Ruck

This puts a “use it or lose it” requirement on rucks.  Once the ball is clearly won and available to be played, the referee will call “use it” after which the ball must be played within five seconds.  If not, it is a turnover – scrum to the other team.

Law 19.2 – Quick Throw-In

This change alters where a quick throw can be taken.  Currently a quick throw can be taken anywhere from the place the ball crossed the touch line back to the thrower’s goal line.  The change allows a quick throw to be taken anywhere from the place of the lineout back to the thrower’s goal line.  The gap that used to exist if the ball was kicked out on the fly from in front of the 22 is now gone.  [I suspect this will have a bigger impact in Sevens than it will in Fifteens, but not this summer.]

Law 20.1 – Scrum Engagement

This is the biggie….a change to the process:

* Referee says “crouch” and the teams crouch (or remain crouched if already down).

* Referee says “touch” and the four props reach out and touch and then withdraw their arms.

* When the referee is satisfied that the front rows appear ready to engage AND ARE STABLE, the referee says “set”.  The front rows may then come together when ready.  This is not a command.  It is permission.

Law 21.4 – Penalty and Free Kick Options and Requirements

This change is only for free kicks and penalty kicks awarded at lineouts.  A team that is awarded a kick may choose to have a lineout instead of the kick.  And of course they may also choose a scrum in lieu of the kick.

Changes for selected International Competitions.  These are not for implementation at the local level.

Law 3.4 – Players Nominated as Substitutes

A Union may nominate up to eight replacements/substitutes.

[The USA is already doing this per the provision in Law 3.14.]

Law 6.A.6 (b) – Referee Consulting with Others

This expands the use of the TMO.

And here are some videos that may help:

Further to my letter of last week on the IRB Council decision regarding law amendment trails and law clarifications.  We are pleased to provide the following links which may help in the dissemination of the message: Law Amendment Trials:  Enforcement of current Law:  Five Key areas of Refereeing:

South vs Bermuda

The below email and article were received from Kevin Kitto on May 8th, 2012.
On Saturday I was pleased to be the President of USA Rugby
After many many years of going to the ITT Tournaments and
always being on the losing side and then last year losing to
Mexico and then winning in Jamaica I felt good. Let me tell
you all this last Saturday playing Bermuda National Team
rated 48th in the world I wondered what would happen.
The article explains it all and even though it was a long long
wait it was worth every minute. All of the players made me
proud to be from the SOUTH.
Kevin Kitto
South Rising
Two weeks ago, most of the USA South rugby team didn’t even know each other.
That didn’t stop them gaining a momentous 38-33 victory over the Bermuda
national team on Saturday, May 5th in Atlanta, however.
In a game played in record heat at Life University, there
were some very exciting exchanges and a see-saw match that kept the crowd on
the edge of their seats until the full-time whistle as the South defeated
Bermuda, the current North American and Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA)
title holders ranked 48th in the world by the IRB.
Following stirring renditions of both countries national
anthem, the match – billed as a warm-up for Bermuda’s World Cup qualifier in
two weeks time – started at a frantic pace in 88 degrees. The South defended
stoutly for 10 minutes after numerous Bermuda assaults and eventually broke out
to score the first try. Bermuda’s tactics were beginning to become obvious with
a good kick-and-chase game plan to the sidelines in order to engineer a
powerful driving lineout, a plan that ultimately yielded them four tries on the
Back-to-back tries by the South’s exciting backs led to a
17-7 score at the 20-minute mark, but then a converted try and penalty by the
visitors locked the scores once again. The last 10 minutes of the stanza
exemplified the tightness of the match with both teams scoring well-orchestrated
tries and conversions to tie it up at 24-24 at the break.
The second period began with a flourish of penalties, and the respective goal
kickers traded kicks to go to take the score to 27-27 and then 30-30. As the hot
and humid conditions took their toll on the players, points became hard to
find. A penalty to Bermuda gave them a three-point advantage with just 10
minutes left on the clock. Again the South withstood some strong Bermuda raids
and managed to get field position to score the match-winning try with two
minutes to go for a 38-33 victory.
Try  scorers,
Justin Smith (Greenville) Jeff Reuther (New
Orleans) Amir Khan UNC Chapel Hill, Mu Cabbel ( Georgia Southern)  Derek Wolfe ( Nashville)
Kennesaw State University’s magnificent club sports
facility in North Atlanta staged the selection trials for the South men’s rugby
select camp just two weeks ago. Over 50 players spanning from all the southern
territories attended the arduous two day camp, culminating in a final game
against the strong Atlanta Renegades of whom a number of their players earned
selection in the 25 man squad.

The coaching staff of Dave Conyers, (Kennesaw State), Jody Hensley (Middle
Tennessee State) and Rene Daniel (Georgia Tech) who all guided the South U21
tour to Cayman Islands earlier this year had just 26 hours to formulate the
squad. Having a depth chart three deep on positions made up of many DI men’s
and college players realized a very competitive team.
An unexpected feature – not by design – meant that eight southern states and
all six territorial unions had representation, giving a true reflection and
flavor of America’s south.
With no chance of a training session or practice until the team assembled on
Friday afternoon on the weekend of the match, we were very fortunate in that
the ethos of rugby provides a ready-made bed of friendship and understanding –
key elements in the formulation of a team’s chemistry.
The team assembled and trained for two and a half hours on Friday after players
travelled up to 12 hours to reach Atlanta. Another one-hour session Saturday
morning completed the team’s paper thin preparation.
This represents the third match played by USA South
against NACRA (North America Caribbean Rugby Association) opposition, a loss to
Mexico  being followed by a win v Jamaica
and now Bermuda. South also took part in the Caribbean sevens in Barbados.
The team
RICKY STREETER                           RENEGADES
Big thanks to Life University for their generous hosting,
to DNA sports for donating the kit SERRS for supplying excellent officials and the
South Board for financial support.