Sad News – Angus Wort

A long term member of the Society, Angus Wort, has passed away aged 91. He was a member of the Society for over 25 years.

His funeral will take place at Stourbridge Crematorium at 12.20.p.m. on Tuesday 11th December (post code DY8 3RQ).

Following which his family, friends & rugby pals will travel back to Kings Norton RFC’s club house at Ash Lane, Hopwood, for refreshments etc commencing at 1.30.p.m.

If you are able to attend – although not a requirement if you do possess them, the wearing of club ties/blazers would be appropriate.

Base Layers – A Reminder

As the weather gets colder, a reminder about base layers in junior rugby, including every age group from colts downwards.

Base Layers
Upper body base layers are allowed in both adult and age grade rugby, providing the design and material complies with the criteria set out in WR regulation 12 and Law 4.

Age grade players are permitted to wear base layers leggings/tights, provided they comply with the World Rugby regulation.

There is a useful overview from England Rugby available here.

The Wold Rugby regulation (quite technical) is available here:

Or view the file using this link [PDF]: World_Rugby_Regulation12_EN

Chris Bath: Up Close with Fiji at the Dubai 7s

As the Dubai 7s gets going in warmer climes, Chris Bath shares with us a story from an experience refereeing a Fijian pre-tournament fixture from 2017.

“When the home team landed a couple of heavy hits on the Olympic Champions a small look and a wink to me from a Fijian player and it was game on!”

While local rugby is getting heavily into winter, the International seven’s series looks to start a new season in Dubai. The Dubai 7s is unique among all the world 7s tournaments. It is the only series that is run alongside a National 7s tournament which now includes 15 categories from local schools U19 to International vets which one year included 400 International caps on the pitch in one game.

While the Men’s and Women’s World Series are refereed by International panel sevens referees, every game from the National tournament is refereed by volunteer referees from around the world, (including that 400 cap vets game)!

There are around 145 referees at the tournament with every game requiring a team of 3 and around 2/3rd of those referees come out of societies from the UK. Many societies also send coaches as well as referees making the whole weekend an invaluable complete experience for any referee’s career.

Chris Bath with the Fiji 7s team

Last season, a rare opportunity came when the Fiji men’s team had agreed to a warm up game with a local expatriate 7s team. It was my providence to be asked to ‘help out’ with the game which was in effect supposed to be a friendly run out.

But no one defined the parameters and we all agreed that we would ‘see how it goes’. So when the home team landed a couple of heavy hits on the Olympic Champions a small look and a wink to me from a Fijian player and it was game on!

It was my biggest privilege to not only see from an entirely different point of view the sheer mesmerising skill that is Fijian rugby, but the trust and faith the players and the coaches had in me to control a game with such latitude and with such players where the smallest of injuries could have such large consequences.

Chris Bath : Thoughts from the Desert, Part 1

Chris Bath recently joined NMSRFR on returning to the UK after a spell in the Middle East. He has kindly agreed to write a series of articles reflecting on the differences between his prior refereeing experience and the new challenge he faces here in the cold and rain. Over to Chris…

Chris Bath – Amman Citadel Rugby Club in Jordan

Coming back to the UK after living abroad for a great number of years, refereeing seemed a perfect way to get back into the swing of things. There was also a real interest into how it all worked here, with England having so many levels of rugby and teams and the hierarchies of RFU and county.

Refereeing opportunities in the United Arab Emirates have grown in recent years, from 7 teams in 5 countries only about 20 years ago to now 3 divisions of between 8 and 11 teams in UAE alone and school rugby at U16 and U18 level is approaching 10 to 12 team league level.

Looking recently at the appointments through the link on the society webpage there are more regional appointments than the whole of Gulf Rugby in one weekend.
Attending the ERRA in Leicester last weekend was a lesson in those differences in numbers allowing a degree of interaction smaller Unions can only hope for, although the game simulations did get a tad competitive at some point.

It was very interesting to be a lot closer to the RFU and the new much heavier emphasis on player welfare. With so many levels of rugby there seemed a great deal of flexibility and common sense to the refereeing approach.

The UAE is a hot desert environment, with much of the rugby played similar to fast and hard South African and even U16 games are played and coached with minimum breakdown and plenty of offloading, it will be interesting indeed to experience the mud and rain of a cold English club game.

One small positive change, while North Midlands referee appointments seemingly cover 3 counties and some almost hour and a half drives, it’s considerably shorter than counting camels for 4 hours between Ras Al Khaimah and Abu Dhabi.

“DLT” recognised at Twickenham

Society stalwart Dave Thomas – known to many as “DLT” – has been recognised for his outstanding contribution to rugby and more than 50 years involvement in refereeing with a VIP trip to Twickenham.

DLT_Eddie In his heyday, DLT was one of England’s top flight referees in his heyday and also became one of Scotland’s leading officials when work commitments took him north of the border. He has given the Society many years of loyal service as an administrator. In recognition of this service, the Society had nominated DLT to the RFRU under the Mitsubishi “Reward the Voulnteer” scheme.

In DLT’s words…

“I was very fortunate to receive an invitation from the RFU to attend the England v South Africa game. The invite was to stay at the Lensbury Hotel on the Friday night and then transport to Twickenham on Saturday morning . We were then provided with a conducted tour of part of the stadium by Steve Grainger. This included going around the changing rooms, having a talk by the Groundsman and then the Medical facilities, which are as good as any hospital.

Our photos were being constantly  taken, one while we were sitting in the Royalty seats  and then visited the Sky TV studio. After the tour we were greeted in the Council members’ bar.

Having had lunch we then took our seats in the Royal Box to watch the game. Almost immediately after the game there was a Dinner for about 300 where some speeches were made, unfortunately the players did not join us. When looking at the Menu for the Dinner I was surprised to see that David Lloyd Thomas’ name was on the back. This lead to a surprise presentation by Eddie Jones to myself and three other Volunteers under the scheme. A Certificate was given to me and also a book outlining the 100 years of history at Twickenham , plus two champagne flutes with the appropriate bottle of Bollinger.

I was introduced by the RFU President as a Welshman but I quickly put him right that I am a Gloucestershire, born and bred and proud of it. A number of people also said after that they only knew me as DLT so I took a bit of ‘ribbing’.

IMG_0322 (1)
DLT : “Neil Chivers has shown us what you get at Gloucester… but here’s was on offer at Twickenham”

A society member for more than 50 years, we’re delighted Dave was honoured in this way, which was truly well deserved.