Vancouver, BC – October 4, 2018: Two of BC’s top referees, Shanda Mosher-Gallant and David Smortchevsky, were recently in Barbados working the Rugby Americas North Sevens Championships (RAN 7s). The tournament showcased the best sevens players from across 15 countries from North America and the Caribbean. With Pan American games and World Series qualification on the line, there was no shortage of intensity when it came to the action on the field.
Smortchevsky, a Vancouver local who regularly referees in the BC Premier Leagues, is a long-standing pillar in Canadian Rugby refereeing circles. His previous experience of refereeing on some of the biggest platforms in World Rugby, including the World Sevens Series, continues to be an invaluable tool in mentoring the next generation of sevens referees. At the RAN 7s however, David wasn’t in the thick of the action as usual, instead, he took on the role of Referee Manager at the tournament. This saw him in charge of a team of around 16 match officials from across the globe, ensuring that the refereeing component of the event ran seamlessly.
BC Premier League referee, Shanda Mosher-Gallant, represented her province very well. Undaunted by her first overseas tournament as a referee, she drew from her experience of officiating in other tournaments including the Canadian Rugby Championships and the Canadian National University Sevens Championships. Throughout the tournament, Shanda worked not only as a referee but also as both an Assistant Referee and In-Goal Judge. Her weekend came to a fantastic conclusion, as she was awarded the refereeing role in the Women’s Final between Mexico and Trinidad & Tobago.
BC Rugby caught up with Shanda and asked a couple of questions regarding her experience at the RAN 7s:
What did you learn from your experience at your first international tournament?
The biggest takeaway for me would be that communication with players doesn’t have to be all words. Refereeing teams that have limited English was definitely an eye-opening experience. I was forced to explore different ways to help the players find solutions to problems they faced during play.”
It’s was a long weekend of hard work in the sun. Downtime is important to anyone trying to be successful and travel often is a huge motivator for referees. What was your favourite off-field moment?
“The referee team had a chance to have a local meal at a fish fry. We ate together and enjoyed all the sights and sounds of Barbados. That or one of the referees spotting a monkey!”
Both Shanda and David are set to be involved in this weekend’s Canadian Rugby Club Championships being held at Klahanie Park on Vancouver’s North Shore. Later this month, Shanda will have the honour of travelling to Denver, CO, to referee at the prestigious opening event of the 2019 World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series. She will follow this up with a trip to Dubai in December for the second stop on the tour.
If you are interested in becoming a referee, or developing your rugby refereeing career in BC, you can find out more information on the BC Rugby website or contacting the Officials Development Officer, Chris Assmus, using the links on the side of this article.