USA Refs Get International Calls Up
Referees, just like players, put in endless hours of film review, fitness and strength training and receive coaching regularly. When you watch a high level match, you may notice that when a Taku Ngwenya or a Sitiveni Sivivatu makes a break and dots down a try, the ref often beats the support into the try zone. It's this type of athleticism that American refs have shown (in addition to their game management and ref expertise, of course) that has earned them prestigous ref appointments in international matches.
As the USA continues to grow its rugby community, referees are a central part of that growth and the indications are that good things are happening in the ref ranks.
Four American referees have received international appointments so far this year. Gareth Morgan will call the game for the Mexico v. Cayman match to take place in Mexico on May 15.
Tim Luscombe will travel to Georgia (the country, not the state of peach and peanut fame) from May 20-June 6 to ref in the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy, a tournament in which eight Under-20s teams will compete. The USA Junior All-Americans (U20s) will compete in the tournament as well.
Dana Teagarden, one of the most accomplished female refs in the world, will call games in the Tokyo 7s and will be joined by a young up-and-comer, Brian Zapp at that tournament. Zapp will also be called on to officiate matches in the Pan-American Games in October.
In addition to international appointments, Luscombe will travel to South Africa to take part in the IRB Talent Optimization Program to further his reffing expertise.