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Ross Devonport
Born in United Kingdom. Ross is a grade C1 referee. He lives in Deerfield Beach, Broward County.
You may contact him at 561 703 5176 or rossdevonport@gmail.com.
 
Sir, may I ask you a question?
Updated on 8/13/2013

Tell us a little about yourself: age, place of birth, current occupation.

—36, Edgware, UK, full-time stay-at-home-dad, part-time teacher

What is you background as a rugby player?

—I started playing at the age of 5 for Harrow RFC. Played for Ruislip RFC after that, then for FAU and Boca Raton after moving to Florida.

Why did you decide to become a referee?

—Too many concussions, and I thought it would be something I would enjoy. Wish I'd done it earlier!

Did you have some kind of mentor?

—Not really. My Dad helped me out in the beginning, however.

Do you remember your first game as a referee? How did it go? Any funny or special memory?

—I refereed an old boys game at Ruggerfest. I remember being nervous, but it went pretty well from what I remember.

What was the most memorable screw up?

—There have been a few. Giving tries on poorly-marked fields when the player is 5 meters short, falling over while signalling a try, etc.

Which is the one game you most remember of your career?

—Miami Rugby Youth in their first ever playoff game, against Lincoln Park Academy. I called the game late in the first half after a massive brawl involving players and parents.

How well do players and coaches in Florida know the laws of the game?

—Not very well at all. They could all do with a law book sitting next to their toilets.

What is your opinion in general of the attitude of players towards the referees in Florida?

—I think for the most part it's pretty good, except at the high school level where the kids haven't learned properly how a rugby referee is treated. The coaches and spectators are way worse than the players when it comes to verbal abuse, and 99% of it is unwarranted.

As a referee, have you made more friends or foes?

—Oh, friends, without a doubt.

Does being able to watch a game on video help you improve your skills?

—Definitely, although you can't see everything on video either! It certainly helps see where your positioning and signalling are lacking.

What are the most rewardings aspects of being a referee? And the least?

—Most rewarding is enabling the high school kids to have a great time out there as they learn the game. Least is when old boys who have been playing for 20+ years bitch at you.

If you have had the opportunity to ref a match oversees, how was that experience?

—I refereed in Costa Rica in 2010, which was an experience. We played the first game at night on a dusty field and the lights on one side of the field didn't work.

What would you tell a player to encourage him becoming a referee?

—If you know the game well, but your skills aren't good enough to be a starting player for most teams, then I would highly suggest refereeing. Or if you're always getting injured, but still want to give back to the game.

Any final thoughts or comments about being a rugby referee?

—I enjoy refereeing and giving back to the game, and hope to do so for a long time to come. Players, the referee is always right!

 

Code updated: 08/17/2017 19:04

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