Kuklinski with BC referee Sherry Trumbull prior to the England vs New Zealand Black Ferns Test
Victoria, BC's Bruce Kuklinski was fortunate, or unfortunate depending on who one supports, to be at Twickenham this past Saturday to witness a historical day for English rugby in seeing both their Men's and Women's teams defeat New Zealand.
Bruce is a former Canadian international referee and is currently the BCRSS allocator, as well as being active each weekend as a referee coach.
His reason for being at Twickenham was two-fold. One was to support BC referee Sherry Trumbull, whom Bruce along with a number of others has had much to do with in her referee development, in her refereeing of the women's game. In doing so, Bruce was able to link with her IRB performance reviewer as well all the other match officials involved including the Citing Commissioner from Scotland.
His second reason was for his own professional development as an IRB Citing Commissioner whereby he shadowed Freek Burger from South Africa who filled that role for the Men's game. In doing this, Bruce met with the team managers and TV broadcasters before the game, did half-time and post-match calibrations with Freek to see what incidents of potential foul play that may have occurred and may require further viewing, and further post-match follow ups with the team managers as to whether they had any incidents of foul play that they wished to be rechecked.
Although it was a rushed trip, having flown over on the Thursday evening and back to Victoria Sunday night, it was well worth the learning experience!
Bruce's previous Citing Commissioner roles had been at the Under 20 level in Canada as well as at last years Junior Under 20 World Trophy, in international women's games in Canada, and at the the recent Americas Rugby Championship, where a limited number of cameras and game angles were available. So it was a big step to have multiple cameras and angles to be viewed if required. Bruce will be filling the role as one of two CC's at the IRB Sevens World Series in Las Vegas in February, where the timeline to decide if a citing is to take place or not goes from a wide number of hours at a 15's game depending on the game or tournament, to just one hour in 7's.
Many people may wonder what it is that a Citing Commissioner does. In short, their purpose is to detect incidents of foul play which have either been missed by the match officials or not adequately dealt with by then, in the opinion of the CC. Before a citing is to occur however, it must meet the red card threshold i.e. that in the opinion of the CC, the incident warrants a red card. In considering this, the CC is only to consider the dangerous nature of the incident and is not to take into account other possible factors. In some competitions, though not as yet those appointed by the IRB, the CC may also cite any foul play where, in the CC's opinion, a yellow card was warranted. The role is seen by the IRB as a very important one, in that all players are to act in the interests of the letter and spirit of the Laws of the game, and not perform any acts of dangerous play or misconduct prejudicial to the Game.
After all, player safety at all levels of play is paramount, be that at the international or local club and school level.
Kuklinski at work in the Citing Commissioner's booth at Twickenham
Trumbull (middle) on the pitch at Twickenham prior to kickoff
England and New Zealand line up for the anthems prior to the men's game