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Photo Credit - Tom Barr

In July of 2000, USA Rugby celebrated the organization’s 25th anniversary by sponsoring a super “Conference on the Game” (COG) in Atlanta with 200 attendees.  For this memorably important meeting, the IRB sent over its Development Officer, Lee Smith, and its Referee Development Officer, Steve Griffiths, to be keynote speakers.

The conference featured separate seminar tracks to cover all facets of rugby in the United States. There were tracks for coaches (led by Pete Steinberg), referees (led by Jim Russell), and a general sessions format run by Mike Cobb, the chairman of the Southeast Rugby Referees Society, who planned and organized the seminal event,

Lee Smith spoke about models of coaching, particularly, in the advent of professionalism.

Dick Podmore, chairman of USARRA Laws Committee, reviewed the total IRB rewrite of the Laws. This talk was followed by vigorous debate on adherence to either USA Rugby Guidelines or the IRB’s Laws, which were sometimes in conflict.  Specifically, the discussion narrowed in on tackle situations, rucks, pressure defense, and scrum engagement.

Jack Clark, U. Cal head Coach, gave a well-received speech whose topic was “The Coaches and Players Perceptions of the Referees.”

The dinner, led by USA Rugby president Anne Barry, witnessed several persons narrating their vision for USA rugby in five-years.