The first in a series of seminars jointly organised by the Ospreys Coach Development Department in conjunction with the newly branded Ospreys Society of Referees took place earlier this month at Dunvant RFC.
The topic for discussion in the opening meeting was ‘The Scrum’, with guests Duncan Jones and WRU International Referee, James Jones, addressing the audience. James made a presentation on refereeing the scrum while Ospreys and Wales prop, Duncan provided a fascinating insight into the dark arts of life in the front row.
Their contributions sparked a lively debate, the breadth and depth of which clearly indicating the complexity of the issue. Unsurprisingly, uniform agreement was not in evidence but the consensus was that a much greater understanding of the issues was achieved.
James Jones commented:
“In addition to the 'breakdown' one of the most contentious areas of the game at the moment surrounds the scrum. As such the Ospreys Referee Society asked me to produce a 'referee' lead presentation to show our views / problems faced, and seek the interaction of the coaches in the region and also from a player perspective there are few better people than Duncan Jones. Several areas of discussion arose and overall I feel everyone left with a greater understanding of some basic fundamentals regarding the scrum. However by no means do we intend making all our referees scrum experts, just facilitate in looking for some clear and obvious check-lists etc and we hope this will aid in the referees within our society having a greater understanding at scrum time.”
Tony Thomas, Coach Development Officer for the Ospreys added:
‘’It has long been my view that in order for any coach to maximise his potential, it is vital that he not only understands the laws but also how they are refereed. If we can also create a situation in which referees can better understand the viewpoints of players and coaches there can only be significant benefit for the game as a whole. In conjunction with the Ospreys Referees Society we plan to hold a series of these joint seminars to discuss the most contentious issues of the time. Both I and the referees would like to thank Duncan for his invaluable contribution.’’
A spokesman for the Referees’ Society said:
“One of the purposes of re-branding as the Ospreys Referee Society is to enable us to fully utilise the specialities of the Ospreys coaching staff / development staff and indeed players. Our aim is to achieve better referee / player / coaches understanding of certain areas of the game and bridge the gap between each. The training seminar recently held at Dunvant was the start of this and indeed proved very beneficial for the referees who attended with an invaluable player insight from Duncan Jones, referee insight from James Jones and very good interaction from the coaches.’’
Ospreys Elite Performance Director, Andrew Hore, added:
“Our Coach Development team is leading the way in Wales in terms of finding new and innovative ways of improving and educating coaches, and this initiative in conjunction with the Referee’s Society is another example of how they are constantly striving to offer coaches in the region something different.
“It is excellent to see different aspects of the rugby community in Ospreylia working together in this way. We look forward to seeing them providing more opportunities for both coaches and referees to improve their understanding of the game in a beneficial manner.”
The Coach Development Department have received positive feedback from attendees, with the following comments from one of the referees present typical of the comments received:
‘’I would just like to provide you with positive feedback from the latest Osprey region referee/coach practical training session I attended in Dunvant RFC on Wednesday 6th February.
“I have been to a number of the previous seminars and have always found the content to be very informative. Now with the inclusion of representation from referees, coaches and players, the training topic sessions has been enhanced. Having input from each of the different perspectives, clearly allowed for meaningful and relevant two-way discussions that provided a much greater understanding.
“The Scrummage clinic was extremely beneficial to my ongoing training and personal development as a Level 2 referee. The insight provided by two top rugby professionals, such as James Jones and Duncan Jones, was not only interesting, but has already proven invaluable in improving my knowledge and game management in this phase of play.
“I look forward to the next seminar and possibly the opportunity to review law interpretations and issues at the Breakdown from all three viewpoints.’’
The Ospreys Coach Development Department and the Ospreys Society of Referees will be hosting further joint seminars in the coming months, please continue to monitor the website for further details.