The NZRU High Performance Referees squad meet for three days at the beginning of August, starting with a visit to the Linton Military Camp, to complete Scrum Coaching under the direction of Mike Cron, Physical Assessment and Team Building with the NZDF led by Davey Forbes.
As always, Crono delivered some real GOLD nuggets leading into the ITM Cup, Heartland Championships and Women’s Rugby Competitions. It was a valuable opportunity not only for the referees, but to a good number of defence force personal involved in rugby to learn from the Scrum Doctor.
Key messages from Crono;
• Tighthead must not crank looseheads arm
• All front rowers engage straight
• Referee manages scrum set
• All must push straight
The physical assessment showed a clear improvement in the groups fitness levels. With some notable achievements:
• Fastest 10m - Brendon Pickerill 1.61secs & Jess Beard. 1.86secs
• Fastest 40m - Brendon Pickerill 5.06secs & Jess Beard. 5.73secs
• Yo-yo IRL1 - Ben O'Keeffe 20.3 & Chelsea Gurr 17.4
• Mod PDT (Repeated Speed) – Fatigue Drop-off. Glen Jackson. 4.6% & Nicky Inwood 8.0%
• Mod PDT (Repeated Speed) – Best Mean Time. Ben O'Keeffe 4.93secs & Jess Beard 5.66secs
But it was the NZDF team building that put the referee team to the test that was to challenge mental, tactical and physical preparedness.
From communication to determination the team were put through a number of activities, culminating in the completion of the Linton Base confidence course.
From carrying logs across narrow concrete walls, to jumping 12ft from a platform to catch a free swinging rope, the group got a taste of army life.
A massive thank you to the NZDF for accommodating and challenging the team to be the best they can be. The integration between NZRU referees and NZDF is both challenging and rewarding to share our skills sets and take every opportunity to learn.
Day 2 involved the referees being challenged on 3 key aspects of their game
• Communicating in a way that achieves behaviour change
• Being in the right place to see the right pictures, and
• Achieving positive outcomes from scrum & law management
These sessions were led by the Professional Referees whose on field experiences were shared as part of these sessions, making the relevance very appropriate for the up and coming referees.
Day 2 concluded with the group watching the Investec Super Rugby Final and then onto observing the Olympics, where of course great raptures for Murray & Bond's gold medal. This really capped off a great day that was themed around "what does high performance mean?"
Day 3 commenced with the team working through the Global Law Changes that are being trialled in ITM Cup, Heartland & Women's Competitions. Understanding what the changes were then the practical application to be tested during pre season games were identified.
After this session each referee were challenged to create their individual plans for the national championships campaigns.
The key value from these days together was an opportunity for the newer younger referees, plus the women referees to mix, mingle & learn from the professional referees at a very practical level.