Rose Labreche and Chris Assmus are two of Canada's refs on the road. They travel around with the World Seven's Series and life can get lonely. We asked them how they cope and what kind of support they take from each other as fellow Canadians.
Chris and I have been lucky to travel with one another as international referees representing Canada for the HSBC 7s series where the men's and women's tournaments have overlapped (and on numerous other occasions for regional or national appointments). This year we have worked together in Las Vegas, Vancouver, and Hong Kong. For me, having someone who is able to understand the context of maintaining a full-time career, and wanting to succeed and progress in that career, while juggling elite level rugby, is immense. We are able to emotionally support one another where others might not quite understand to realities and difficulties that we face. Between tournaments, and despite the geographical distance between us in Canada (him in Vancouver and myself in Ottawa) we speak rather frequently about our recent matches and experiences to discuss the game and our own performances.
Of course, it is great to share the experiences and memories on the Series with a fellow Canadian. We are able to represent the country and show what Canadians, along with the Canadian rugby brand, are truly about.
The sevens environment is very new to me. It has been a huge asset working with Rose. She shares her experience with me and gives me an idea of how to prepare and what to expect. Before a tournament, we are able to compare thoughts on what to expect. Having someone to bounce ideas off of on even the most trivial items such as what to pack, is a great comfort. Going forward, we are hopefully creating opportunities for other Canadians coming through. Being able to represent our country in both the men's and women's sevens series is a huge privilege. It goes beyond any expectation to be able to do so with a friend.