Image couresty of Judy Teasdale Photography
A lot can happen in 12 months. Just ask Chris Assmus who this time last year was gearing up for assistant referee assignments at the Americas Rugby Championship in Langford. At 24 years old, he was excited for the opportunities ahead and spoke of his aspirations of one day officiating full Test matches at the international level.
It has been a busy year for the French Immersion teacher who now works at Chief Dan George Middle School in Abbotsford. Last March Assmus refereed in England and Wales then went on to officiate at the World University Sevens in Russia over the summer. Shortly after, Assmus was headed to the iRB's talent optimization program in South Africa where he had the chance to interact with coaches, strength and conditioning experts and referees at the world class Western Province Academy.
This week Assmus got the call that every young referee hopes for when he was appointed to his first full Test match between Uruguay and Spain. The November international window will also see Assmus travel South to Philadelphia where he will referee the USA versus New Zealand Maori fixture.
Referee Assignments - Chris Assmus:
Nov 9, 2013: USA v Maori All Blacks (Philadelphia)
Nov 16, 2013: Uruguay v Spain (Montevideo)
"I am honoured to receive the opportunity to serve the game at this level," Assmus said when hearing the news. "Every player wants to play Test rugby. It's the same for referees, but the game isn't about us. We don't expect appointments but we work hard so that we can be considered."
Assmus has spent much of August and September officiating domestically with assignments in the Canadian Rugby Championship and British Columbia's Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League. Now in Victoria gearing up for his second consecutive outing at the Americas Rugby Championship, Assmus will be the man in the middle for USA against Argentina (October 11th) and Uruguay versus Argentina Jaguars (October 15th).
Over the last 24 months, Assmus has officiated at the NACRA Sevens, Vancouver International Sevens and worked as an assistant referee at the 2012 Junior World Rugby Trophy in Salt Lake City. A highlight of the World University Games in Kazan, Russia was refereering the Cup Semifinal between Great Britain and France.
Outside of his busy travel schedule, Assmus referees locally during the Fall and Winter rugby season in BC where he credits the community and BC Rugby Referee's Society for aiding him in his development.
"In BC we are fortunate to have a vibrant rugby community," added Assmus. "We are blessed to be in the company of many former Test referees and great referee mentors. One of the biggest factors is the dialogue between clubs, coaches, players and referees. Many coaches have given their time to provide me with feedback that I can apply toward improving my performance as a referee as well as the product on the field."
Now 25, Assmus has come a long way since refereeing his first junior school boy game between Selwyn House (Quebec) and Royal West Academy.
"In spite of some surely shocking decisions, I will never forget how great it felt to be out there in the thick of it," Assmus said.
With the Americas Rugby Championship kicking off this Friday in Langford, keep an eye out for Assmus, the latest of Canada's top level referees to be recognized by the International Rugby Board.
ARC provides development platform for referee Chris Assmus