Well it is and it isn’t.
All I want is for ‘good’ rugby to be played, everyone enjoys it and no one gets hurt. If that happens and nobody notices I’m there bingo!
Easy? 80% of the time, yes. Those are your ‘regular’ decisions. You have good view and are sure what went on by whom, where and how.
It’s the other 20% that make the difference. Your view is blocked. You’ve followed the ball and there has been an almighty collision off it, there’s been contact but enough to stop the play?
Average game you make between 250-300 calls/decisions. So 45-55 times you make, more or less instantly, a tough decision. You are not going to get them all correct.
So here’s the secret…Do Your Best. Not earth shattering I know, but it works for me.
Be honest with the players, and yourself and call what you see. If you get questioned reply with honesty and reflect on what is said. Just because you have the whistle doesn’t make you infallible. I know I’ve made some howlers in my time!
So accepting that true proficiency takes 10,000 hours I consider myself to be in training for the next 14,785 games. Along the way I hope to enjoy the company of great people, be bought the odd beer and to enjoy the game. Lets face it I could be at home watching EastEnders!
By Paul Cunningham – Tag Rugby Referee
RARC: Hi Julia, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to take this interview.
RARC: What does it take get to your exceptional level on the rugby pitch, especially having got tag player of the league last year?
JS: I try and learn from others. The external coaches have helped as have the internal ones like Russ and Jason and I play as often as possible and think about better ways to play and work on all my weak points.
RARC: How did you start playing with the club?
JS: Errol persuaded me to come to the first blitz event, it was fun so I started coming on Sundays.
RARC: What is the best thing for you about the club?
JS: The game I think, really enjoy the sport, it’s simple but you need to play smart to do the things which allow the team to score a try. I like when many people want to try and get better with the club and come along just to play, everybody is welcoming.
RARC: If you were scouting for talent, who is the first person you’d pick?
JS: Hmm, Gordon, Russ, Dan, Annie, Charles (okay better stop now)
RARC: You are what looks like a very career driven entrepreneur, how do you plan(make time) to be as active as you are with the RARC?
JS: When it comes to playing I put it first. I know league nights and Sunday mornings I am busy and other stuff fits around it. There are plenty of other nights in the week.
RARC: If you had to start all over again, what career would you choose totally different to the one you are presently in now?
JS: Actually I like construction. Other choices would be politics or the UN.
RARC: Where do you see this club going down the road & will members just look as this as a fad, and stop playing one day ..?
JS: Everyone will stop playing one day as they move away, grow older, have kids, etc etc. But I think there is enough passion in the club that it will carry on for years to come. The challenge is to keep growing it, to keep doing fun stuff (the blitz, the adventure day outs like Twickenham) and to keep improving our skills.
RARC: What do you want to see the club achieve in the next couple of years?
JS: A regular professional coach (once a month for example). Our teams to go up in the league, to reach more women and beginners and to have regular “Adventure Day Outs”.
RARC: If you could encourage a colleague to play or join the club, what words of inspiration would you use in one sentence??
JS: Its great fun and it’s great for keeping fit, also if you can run and/or coach, you can play.
RARC: What do you think about playing in the league?
JS: Great fun, gives us something to focus on and we’ve met some great other players who we’ve become friends with.
RARC: Do you read our monthly newsletter?
JS: Yes, and I luv it!!!!
RARC: Would you recommend the club and the sport to other people?
JS: Yes whole heartedly.
Thanks once again Julia Stone. See you on the pitch!
Royal Arsenal gambles on 2 league entry!
In a new venture as we move location to Bartlett Park for the new mixed league the decision was made to enter into the men’s league. The opposition team were all the stereotypical mesomorph rugby build and had definitely played full contact together before.
In the first 3 minutes they had scored twice, and most of us gulped at the prospect of a thrashing. However a glimmer of hope shone through as we managed to sneak through gaps or made an overlap by passing down our whole line. I believe every player achieved at least 1 try over the 40 minutes.
A tightly fought draw was attained at 11:11 and Jonney was awarded man of the match for some cool leadership and nifty plays.
Congratulations to the RA Mixed Tag Team(winners)
Mixed Game Result Royal Arsenal 12 vs State St 6
Mens Game Result Royal Arsenal (men’s) 11 vs TEC 11
Contribution: Jase Millar RARC member/player
Rugby has always been a big part of my life. My dad was a great player in his day, and so growing up it was always there. Rugby Special was sacred viewing on Sunday afternoons and Dad and I were constantly passing a ball between us both inside and outside the house.
When I started playing mini rugby at 8 years old, the whole family became involved in Doncaster RUFC. Dad began to coach and Mum was either in the kitchen or behind the bar.
By the time I was playing U16’s my dad was our coach and we were winning every tournament in sight.
That’s me below, stood, second from right wearing the shortest shorts you’ll ever see.
I played back row then (either I was tall for my cohort or the rest of the pack were short!) with No.8 being my favoured position. I was also playing for my school, and had attracted interest from county scouts.Unfortunately, my aspirations of playing for Leicester Tigers were cut short when one day at school I broke my arm very badly in a PE lesson. I never did find out if I’d made the cut for Yorkshire Schools. I didn’t really want to.
When I moved away to University I played a bit (albeit with a protector on my arm) but it wasn’t the same, especially as I was a forward!
In later years I played for a couple of Veterans’ sides (by this time I had decided I was a winger). This was OK, but getting tackled was hurting more and I hung up my boots – my team sports now only taking place in the summer and involving a much smaller ball.
So my rugby experience now consisted of watching from the armchair and following the Tigers from afar. I never thought I would be playing again!
I happened to see on Rob Morgan’s timeline that he had become involved with the Royal Arsenal Rugby Club(RARC). They had an established Tag Rugby Team,I knew about, having coached the school team when I was still a classroom primary teacher (They were pretty good too, and reached the Kent finals on more than one occasion!) but I didn’t know adults played it.
I asked Robert what it was all about, and decided to go along with him one Sunday and see for myself.
I’m so glad I did! The Royal Arsenal Tag Rugby Club is full of great people of all ages and abilities. I was welcomed with open arms on a rainy Sunday in February and I became hooked.
Tag Rugby is a great game. It’s fast and free-flowing, and a true team sport. For someone like me who wants to have a run out, keep their rugby skills sharp, develop new ones and doesn’t want to get knocked around (it really does hurt more as you get older!) it’s a perfect game.
Contribution by Member/Player Stuart Swann for RARC
We here at RARC News were very happy to be able to grab 60 seconds with Dan Hudson, the player of the tournament at the recent 6 Nations Blitz and all round heart-throb!
What many people don’t know is that when Dan got married a couple of years ago, he organised a tag rugby game up on Blackheath common in front of the Princess of Wales pub which was the inspiration for local residents John Gavin and Errol Slater to get people out on a Sunday and play. This eventually led to the formation of what is now known as the Royal Arsenal Rugby Club.
RARC: What are you up to right now?
Dan: Hi RARC, I am at work, just catching up with emails from the night before and eating my toast like a good boy.
RARC: What do you think of the RARC?
Dan: I think it is amazing, I can’t believe how far it has come and what a great force it is in bringing people together and also raising money for charity. This is all down to John and Errol and their hard work and enthusiasm; they really are the PJ and Duncan of Woolwich Arsenal.
RARC: Where have to been recently, you went AWOL for a while?
Dan: I know, I have been missing playing. I had a marathon last month and a bit of an Achilles issue, so I am taking it very easy and trying to focus on just running and not making the issue worse. Hopefully it will be fine and I will get around. Once this is done, I will 100% be back in the mix.
RARC: What does it take get to your exceptional level on the rugby pitch?
Dan That is a very good question, I would say it is a combination of god given talent and bright white rugby boots. No seriously, it’s more about having fun, as you know; I do a lot of endurance events (Marathons / Ironman / Ride London), but when we play tag rugby, it’s like being back at school, running around, having a laugh and just enjoying it.
RARC: If you were scouting for talent, who is the first person you’d pick?
Dan: This is an easy one, most people would think that I would pick Brian, but it would come down to either Annie or Big Mark Cox. Annie is a great player and it’s funny to watch her kick JP’s butt, and I figure that if you are on the same side as Mark, it’s probably a safe place!
RARC: Are you going to be running out with us again soon.
Dan: Most certainly, I have just finished the marathon and will be back every weekend and looking forward to playing over the summer. I am also training for Ride London and competing for Sports Aid, a great charity that supports grass roots sport, check out my just giving page http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/DanHudson4
RARC: Thank you Dan, we look forward to seeing more of you and your ‘Iron Man Skills’ on the pitch.
It is well documented workers at the Woolwich armament factory established an association football team named Dial Square in 1886, shortly renamed ‘Royal Arsenal’ and leading a nomadic existence before leaving for pastures north of the river Thames . Well since then the empire has gone, the original purpose of the arsenal has gone and so has the football club. What has not changed is the need for organized recreation in the newly redeveloped arsenal site.
In 2015 residents, rather than munitions workers, decided to form a rugby football club with a focus on the TAG version of the game. Their nomadic existence (borne out of necessity owing to grass scarcity in SE18) sees them plying their skills at the MOD Woolwich barracks, behind the statue. The Welsh joke that their Principality Stadium roof is open so God can watch their team play; Royal Arsenal joke that the statue intentionally faces the opposite direction.
Every Sunday morning from 11:00 the hardy members of the Royal Arsenal Tag rugby don belts and tags and embark on the skills of evasion, passing, team play and the exhortation of playing to the laws of the game. It is a truly democratic game with all welcome and all encouraged to participate.
Fun is important but all players relish the competition, fitness and camaraderie that rugby has to offer.
If you have read about the dangers of tackling in the press recently, then this is the game for you; contact is forbidden. The onus is on cooperation and mutuality (another fine Woolwich tradition) with an aims to branch off to more competitive sessions in the future.
Please give us a go!
TAG Rugby at Royal Arsenal SE London
By Robert Morgan