Friday, February 26, 2010

2010 Six Nations TV coverage - Update

Even with the closure of Setanta, there are plenty of places to catch the games in the US.

Premium Sports, who is run by the founder of Setanta Sports North American, Shane O'Rourke, will still be broadcasting the games and you can find details of venues here.

BBC America will also be continuing with their coverage, showing the Ireland vs England game tomorrow.

There are also plenty of great viewing events going on tomorrow:

I will be at the 6 Nations Breakfast and Beer event hosted by PlayRugby USA at the Arctica Bar and Grill, 384 3rd Avenue  in Manhattan.  If you are attending, please come on up and say hello

Also in NYC, some of my British mates over at BigAppleBrits are having an event at Jakes Saloon, 202 9th Avenue.

In DC, my old team mates at the Washington Renagades will be at Fado's in Chinatown (808 7th Street NW)

If you know of any other events, drop me a line and I'll be happy to post the details.
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The Angry Ref - “Oh Captain My Captain”

Dear Captain,

You are a funny fellow indeed.  You are the only one allowed to talk to the ref though we know that in most cases everyone forgets that at the first breakdown.  You are tasked with keeping your players in line giving me a conduit so that your team receives my instructions from a familiar and respected face.  But oh captain my captain there are some things you should know.

First, even though you are allowed to talk you are not allowed to say just any old thing.  So when you are given a penalty for dissent the retort “But I’m the captain!” doesn’t really hold any water.  As the captain you should lead by example and address the ref the way you expect your team to address the ref even though they should not be addressing the ref at all.

Second, remember that I only want to talk to you during a stop in play.  Not at the ruck, not at the maul, not while chasing a play down the field.  Remember that one time when you were a U19 Eagle playing on a local all star team and I marveled at how you could sprint full speed with me shoulder to shoulder for 30 meters and never stop talking?  I remember it.  It makes my carding hand tingle.

Finally dear captain remember that even though your title is bestowed upon you by your coach or your club it can be taken away from you; by me.  So before you declare that the card I’m giving your player is “bullshit” remember that the next thing you hear may be, “Captain, please send me your replacement.”  Followed by a red card for your very own to keep and treasure for two weeks.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

NYC: Village Lions seek Head coach

My team, the Village Lions, are currently seeking a head coach to lead its 70-strong Men's squad. They currently compete in Met NY’s division II and aspire to be in division I by the 2011 league season.

Interested applicants should be USA Rugby certified and possess prior coaching experience (preferably DII or higher).

Check out the club's page for a full job description and application procedure.
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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Podcast - Episode 8: Wendy Young (Your Scrumhalf Conection)

Wendy Young
For the first podcast of 2010,  I had the pleasure to sit down and chat with fellow blogger Wendy Young, the founder of Your Scrum-half Connection, a fantastic blog covering women's rugby in the USA.  In this episode, you'll find out more about the blog, Wendy's playing, refereeing, and coaching career, as well as her recent commentator work for USA Rugby (see below).  And of course, how could I forget to ask about The Girl, her mysterious partner. 

You can listen to the podcast online on the Podcast Page, via iTunes, or by RSS Feed 

As mentioned in the podcast, here is the link to the video with Wendy commentating at the Atlantic Cup in Florida.  Plus, if you are interested in the travel packages to head over to my homeland for Women's Rugby World Cup this year, check out Wendy's website for more details.
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Monday, February 22, 2010

Churchill Cup returns to America in 2010

The Red Bull Arena in New Jersey will host the 2010 Churchill Cup 
The Red Bull Arena in New Jersey will host the 2010 Churchill Cup finals
Hot off the press...USA Rugby have announced the return of the Churchill Cup to the US.  Excited to see the games are making it to the East and my home turf.

Big thank you to Sara Johns at USA Rugby for passing it on.

USA RUGBY BOULDER, Colo. - The Churchill Cup makes its return to U.S. soil this summer, once again stopping in the City of Glendale, Colo. before making its East Coast debut at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.

The 2010 lineup showcases the USA Eagles, Canada, England Saxons and tournament newcomers France A, Russia and Uruguay in three rounds of doubleheader pool matches at Infinity Park, Glendale on June 5, 9 and 13.

The pool stages lead into a tripleheader finals day at Red Bull Arena, the new home of the New York Red Bulls Major League Soccer side, on June 19.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Angry Ref - “If You Don’t Know, Now You Know” (Parts I-II)

Part I. “You’re Not a Ref”

If you passed the level one referee test a few years ago but haven’t reffed a game since, don’t go to the society meetings, and don’t follow the monthly rulings from the IRB you’re not a ref.  So please don’t come up to the ref after the game and start your criticism with “Now, I’m a ref too…”  You’re not a ref, you’re someone who passed a test once.  You’re not a ref the same way Steve Young’s not a lawyer.  You’re not a ref the same way someone who hasn’t studied the tax code in ten years isn’t a CPA. You’re not a ref the same way I’m not a paramedic.  Sure, I took the class and passed the test but I never actually worked as a paramedic and you probably don’t want me to be the one there with your life on the line.

In a very similar way we refs don’t want you trying to help us out with your “observations.”  The interpretations of law, emphasis of law, and even the law itself is constantly changing.  If you’re not following it the way refs are you’re hopelessly behind and should probably just keep your comments to yourself.  Which brings me to.....

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The French are coming! Sunday 21st Feb, New York

A French select side from the South West of France will be taking on the local lads of the Village Lions in Central Park this Sunday.  The French side are reputed to be packing a some quality retired professionals... Eric Bonneval, Christian Califano, Denis Charvet, Arnaud Costes, Jean-Louis Jordana, Christian LabitEmile N'Tamack, Jean-Pierre Rives, Cedric Soulette, Patrick Tabaco, Franck Tournaire to name a few!

The game will take part in the field across from Tavern on the Green at the 66St and Central Park West and kick off is at 1pm.

The Lions also invite you to come help soften up the opposition Saturday night at Mason Dixon (on Essex between Stanton and Rivington) at 8pm.

Should make for a great warm up for a cracking game of rugby!
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NRU Under 23 Women's Select Side tryouts

The NRU Under 23s Women's Select Side have several upcoming dates for tryouts throughout the North East Region.   This year Rich Ashfield is moving to be the head coach of the NRU Senior Women's Team and Bryan Hamlin will join the Under 23 program as the backs coach.

Here is the current list of dates and venues:
  • Sun Mar 14 Skills clinic  - MIT Boston, MA
  • Sun April 11 Skills Clinic - Poughkeepsie, NY
  • April 25 NERFU Cup - Location TBA
  • Sat May 8 Squad session invitation only - Location TBA
  • Sat May 15 Squad session - Location TBA
  • Sat May 22 Game at Village Lions - NewYork, NY
  • Sat June 5 Game at Beantown - Boston, MA
  • Thr-Sun June 10-13 ITT Championship - Location TBA (includes travel days)  
There will be a nominal fee for each skill clinic.
If you would like to attend a tryout please email the following information to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
  • Name
  • CIPP #
  • School/Club
  • Positions
  • Date of Birth
  • Tryout date(s) you will be attending
Details courtesy of Met NY Rugby.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Angry Ref - “With the Window Cracked Hollah Back Money Ain’t a Thing”

With many games there is a bit of grumbling from players about this call and that call which is normal.  But I’d like to take this space to clear up one misconception I’ve encountered more than a couple times over the years.  Rugby players of America, by and large your referees do not get paid.  In fact it is overwhelmingly the opposite.  Like you dear players we also pay club dues and CIPP fees.  So you see, we’re all kicking a little bit of bucks up the chain for the privilege of running around on Saturdays.  The vast majority of your referees not only volunteer but they drive for hours, take time off work, ignore family, friends, and chores all to help make your match official.  The result is almost always a net loss when it comes to money. 

So before you open your mouth and spew out an ignorant comment like “We pay to play and you’re getting paid.” Or, “You should give back your check for this game.” remember these simple guidelines:
  • Unless you’re getting paid to be there your ref isn’t getting paid
  • Unless the league you play in starts with the word “Super” your ref isn’t getting paid.  (And even then most  f not all of them are volunteers also.)
  • Unless you have the name of a country on the front of your jersey rather than the name of a local bar your ref isn’t getting paid.
  • Unless your squad has the word “National” before the word “Team” in the name your ref isn’t getting paid.  (And even then, usually your ref isn’t getting paid.)
Now that we have that cleared up let’s remember that we all have the same goal, a good game of rugby.  The ref isn’t against you. The ref is for you.  The ref wants you to do well.  Thank you.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Introducing "the Angry Ref"

As part of a new feature, I am pleased to welcome to a rugby life, the Angry Ref.  The Angry Ref is an active rugby referee in the US and will be blogging weekly about life on the pitch.
So without further adue, I give you... 

“Glass Houses” or “How I became The Angry Ref”

I was listening to an interview during the 2009 baseball post season that stuck in my mind.  If you remember during the 2009 MLB playoffs the umpiring was as much a topic as anything else due to several blown calls particularly in the Red Sox-Angels series.  The hosts of this show were interviewing some baseball analyst who told the following story.

During a game a while back an umpire called a batter out on a called third strike.  The batter tilted his head in a silent expression of frustration with the call but didn’t say anything.  After taking a few steps towards the dugout the batter turned back towards the umpire but before he could say anything the umpire took off his masked and said, “Don’t tell me blew that call.  Don’t you dare tell I blew that call.”  “Why not?” asked the batter.  “Because I don’t point out every time you screw up.  When you watch one go right down the pipe I don’t call you an idiot for not swinging.  When you drop a fly ball I don’t ask how you could blow such a easy play.  So don’t you dare tell me I just blew that call.”  With that the batter shrugged and went back to the dug out.   I’ve tried using this line of reasoning with players in the past.   It’s never really worked the way I hoped it would.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

2010 Six Nations TV coverage

It's that time of year again and I'm exited to see what this years Six Nations has in store. But where to watch the games?

Well anyone familiar with the watching rugby stateside, its usually involves getting up at the crack of dawn, raid the local ATM, and head to the local pub to fork over a $20 cover charge. Even with all the upheaval at Setanta, that won't be change much this month. Through February 28th, Setanta will be broadcasting matches live on their Premium channel (accessible via the local bars or on Per Per View) and delayed on the regular channel. However, there is an added bonus this year in that BBC America has also decided to air a selection of games also. So what are your options?

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