A humbling experience for overseas referees

By Nefertiti Matatia 16 February 2018, 12:00AM

Pat Rae and four other referees from New Zealand are ready to explore more on the field.

He is the manager of the Bay of Plenty Union from New Zealand and they are here on behalf of the New Zealand Rugby to referee the Vailima Pure Marist International Sevens two-day tournament.

Talking to the Weekend Observer yesterday, he shared they are thrilled to be part of the 30th anniversary of the Marist Sports Club.

“When we arrived here, the four referees who came with me were really excited to be here. They have really embraced the challenge of refereeing in an environment that they are not used to, the temperature is a little warmer than it is at home,” Mr. Rae said.

He is surprised by the many young referees in Samoa.

“I was surprised by the number of teenagers who were in the room. To see young kids coming through refereeing, I thought it was fantastic, the way that they engaged into the session.

He says they wanted to break the barrier between the local referees and his referees.

“We ran the session yesterday (Thursday) where everyone was interactive; we started with a game rock, paper, and scissors to break the ice.

“We wanted to break down the barrier of us and them and when we come here, we wanted to be one team and that was a really good way of breaking the barrier down,” he said.

Mr. Rae explained: “The session went really well and I had been impressed with the standard of officiating from both the local referees and also the assistant referees on the touch line.”

He is positive that the Samoan community can rest assured that the local referees are well coached and well educated.

Mr. Rae says the relationship with the Samoan referees is not always on the field; instead each person is given an opportunity to learn and grow as people interact with the other.

“I am sure that the Samoan referees would learn from the referees who I came with, but likewise our referees would learn that you do not have to have an expensive gym or best looking facilities to do well.

“It can be a humbling experience to see that no matter what type of environment our athletes are put into, they seem to strive and thrive on an international stage, just witnessed that with the Samoan 7s making it to the quarterfinals.”

Mr. Rae is humbled that the New Zealand rugby selected them to come and he still marvels at how the Marist organizers are able to get back on their feet straight after Tropical Cyclone Gita hit Samoa.

“We are amazed at the way that this tournament has been organized; the hard work that has gone on after the cyclone to get this field ready was just outstanding. So the amount of organizations that has really opened our eyes.

“In relation to the games that we had so far, on a whole I think that everyone has responded really well to the managers meeting yesterday, it is really clear that they all have listened to what we said. They are all experienced managers.”

The tournament ends today.

By Nefertiti Matatia 16 February 2018, 12:00AM

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