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13th team keeping busy

By Clare Daniels

What a tournament!

World Cup game day three is just around the corner and I can't believe where the time has gone - it really has flown by and before we know it, finals day will soon be upon us.

The match officials for the tournament are based next to Surrey Sports Park in a hotel and it's fair to say I think some of the players and coaches have been a little jealous of our digs when they arrive for meetings, especially the selection of food at breakfast!

As the 13th team in the tournament, we have spent a lot of time together since we all arrived on August 16 - there has been plenty to keep us all occupied and the IRB's "Fairplay" system gives us all a great opportunity to review our performances as referees and assistant referees.

At the start of the event we all worked hard to gain consistency across the board regarding the interpretations of IRB directives and it was good to have a meeting with the team coaches where these were discussed. As ever, though, it's a work in progress and after each game we all review our performances as a team of three with the performance reviewer, with the game DVD providing an excellent resource in this process.

Each match provides the team coaches with the opportunity to feedback on the referee's performance, so as an official you have feedback from the performance reviewer, the two coaches and the referee manager - plus there's your own self-reflection excersise. It really is a 360-degree approach!

Each day we also have a team meeting where clips from games are shown, highlighting areas where we need to work on and also areas that have been refereed well. There have also been some amusing and light-hearted clips to reinforce the message that is is also important that we all enjoy the experience of England 2010.

At times this can appear difficult as, let's face it, we are here to do a job and we all want to do the best job we can. We only get once chance and officials too are competitive animals - there are games to aim for and the business end of the tournament is looming. However, your focus has to be on your next task - looking beyond is a dangerous game to play. As a wise old sage once told me: "No game is more important than your next game".

So, here's to New Zealand v Wales in round three and the enjoyment of another fantastic day of world class women's rugby.