Saint Michaels athletics coach will referee at Olympics

Bruce Kuklinski ne of two citing commissioners who will review video footage from every minute of the women’s rugby sevens matches

Bruce Kuklinski

Bruce Kuklinski

Bruce Kuklinski has been an international rugby referee long enough to know he didn’t expect to see himself going to the Olympics.

This week Kuklinski, 51, is one of two citing commissioners who will review video footage from every minute of the women’s rugby sevens matches as the sport makes its debut at the Rio de Janeiro Summer Games. The other is longtime official Mike Rafter of England.

“I’m surprised, honoured, privileged and fortunate to get this opportunity, I never thought I’d go to the Olympics except to watch,” Kuklinski said.

From 1995 to 2007, the Saint Michaels University School athletics teacher was an International Rugby Board test referee who blew the whistle on 13 IRB World 7s series events and 11 test matches for the 15s.

In more recent years, Kuklinski has worked as a citing commissioner on the sidelines for international events including the past two Victoria International Women’s Sevens tournaments in Langford and the wildly successful Canada 7s men’s inaugural event at BC Place in the spring. In 2015, he worked the Rugby World Cup and in June of this year, he worked a three-match 15s series between England and Australia in Australia. It’s a prestigious rank in the world rugby picture.

“My role is to penalize players with yellow or red cards based on dangerous or illegal activity during the matches,” Kuklinski said. “I watch video and hand out the citations following matches.”

Three yellow cards equals a red card, which means missing the next match.

The newest infringement that officials are trying to get out of rugby is neck rolls.

“There are always dangerous things in the game that you don’t want up-and-coming players to see on TV, or they will do it too,” he said. “One of those is the neck roll, where a head is grabbed on the way into the ruck and it creates a dangerous situation where the player who is grabbed has to roll away, as they otherwise know they could get hurt very badly.”

Rugby has been eager to adopt real-time support from the sidelines. Tries, or near tries, can be reviewed on screen by a sideline commissioner. However, Kuklinski’s role is to cite post-game penalties only.

Kuklinski’s background in rugby started as a youth in New Zealand. He was drawn to the coaching of Dave Docherty at the University of Victoria in 1987, where he played scrum half and studied athletics and teaching.

“That was a great setup that really led me to refereeing. Every weekend was an all-encompassing model where you coached youth, refereed older youth and then played for your team,” Kuklinski said.

“I’m a fan of all sports, at all levels, top to bottom, so I’m very excited to go to Rio and to see the Games and the athletes,” he added. “I saw an ice hockey game at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and if the atmosphere at the women’s rugby is going to be anything like that, which I think it is, it’ll be fun.”

For the past 11 years Kuklinski has taught at the SMUS middle school and was in SMUS’ high school for 16 years before that. He is also a longtime rugby coach at the school.

“The support this school has given me has been amazing, letting me leave a few weeks early from school this year and to leave for three weeks to work at the 2014 World Cup was really great of them.”

Canada’s women’s sevens rugby team qualified for Rio and will start the tournament against Japan on Saturday, Aug. 6, at 8:30 a.m.

 

 

Just Posted

Steve Mann and Tim Hackett consider Marigold Lands their finest development. (Rendering courtesy Marigold Lands)
Marigold residences grow more townhouses and condos in Central Saanich

50 condos, 14 townhouses up next for project adjacent to Pat Bay Highway

Norman Mogensen sets up strings for his beans in his plot in the Oak Bay community gardens. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
Oak Bay gardener spends decades cultivating, improving daddy’s beans

85-year-old vegan part of the community gardens scene

The Pool at the Esquimalt Rec Centre. (Courtesy of theTownship of Esquimalt/ Facebook)
Esquimalt Rec Centre restarting everyone welcome swim times later this month

The 90-minute sessions will be on select evenings and weekends

Theatre SKAM is offering mobile, pop-up performances to Greater Victoria residents once again this summer. They’ll feature emerging artists Yasmin D’Oshun, Courtney Crawford, Kaelan Bain and Kendra Bidwell (left to right). (Courtesy of Theatre SKAM)
Theatre performances can be ordered to Greater Victoria front yards this summer

Theatre SKAM offering mobile, pop-up performances once again

Diana Durrand and Arlene Nesbitt celebrate the new artist space in 2014. Gage Gallery moves this summer from Oak Bay to Bastion Square in Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Gage Gallery moving to Bastion Square

Vivid Connections, a showcase by Laura Feeleus and Elizabeth Carefoot, opens new venue June 29

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read