Thames Valley Rugby Referees Training and Education Programme 2012
Club Referee's Course - Sunday 15th April 10am - 3pm at Mercury Bay Rugby Club - Whitianga 
Course Content
1. A 2 hour theory section (associate referee course) covering scrum safety, referee positioning ,referee running lines plus the rugbysmart safety course.
2. A 3 hour practical session, in which members will learn refereeing processes at the breakdown, whistling and signalling, plus the primary duties of a touch judge.
Preferably the club referee is not the team coach.
Once qualified, club referees will be called upon to officiate home Under 11 - under 13 matches, when such fixtures do not have a referee appointed by the Thames Valley Rugby Referees Association (TVRRA) and to operate as touch judges for any matches at their home club where again such roles are not appointed by the TVRRA.
If you would like more information on the club referee programme please contact Kerry Petrie on 0274 390 456 or 09 237 0033







The following areas are those that will lead to stronger emphasis by referees as a focus for the 2012 season.  The areas concerned are not changes to Law.





(i)            The Scrum Cadence will continue to be applied as per 2011 – 4 x clear calls, with each call made and controlled on the referee’s terms…..4 x referee calls = 4 x player actions, with a clear Pause when Pause in called.  

(ii)          Props must TOUCH, on the opponents shoulder, upon the call of touch by the referee.

(iii)        Early engagements will be sanctioned (FK) – low tolerances will apply and repeated transgressions = PK.    

(iv)       All props must have their head and shoulders above their hips and must hit straight.

(v)         #8’s will not be allowed to ‘slingshot’ the scrum in.


The purpose behind these specific areas is to assist in gaining greater compliance at scrum time, providing a fairer and more even contest at the hit, safety, and to reduce the number of scrums needing to be reset = better ‘completion rate’.





(i)           At the formation (set-up) of a Maul, the non-ball-carrying team must have clear straight access to the ball-carrier.  Any ‘blocking’ in front of the ball-carrier will be regarded as obstruction and will be sanctioned accordingly.

(ii)         This is also directly linked to lineouts and kick-offs where the phase is more structured.


The purpose here is aimed at creating more defendable Mauls now that the law no-longer allows for their legal sacking.





(i)            Following a kick in general play, players of the kicking team will not be permitted to advance forward from an offside position(ii)          Offside players in front of the kicker are to ‘Stop’.

(iii)        Players inside the 10m area are to ‘Retreat’. 


The purpose of this is to provide the players of the catching team the protection they are given in Law.  This stance will also lead to greater time and space for these players to either counter attack and/or decide upon other attacking options ….. Ultimately reducing aerial ping-pong.





(i)            The tackler, once hitting the ground in the tackle, must release the ball and the ball carrier before getting to their feet and playing the ball.  This refers to both the tackler (who goes to ground) and the player who takes the ball carrier to ground but who remains on their feet.

(ii)          The tacklers must ‘open-up’ if they are unable to get to their feet or roll away. 

(iii)        If the tackler falls on the opposition side of the tackle they must remove themselves from that position via the closest avenue - either rolling sideways or towards their own team.  This movement is not to be over the ball which is aimed at slowing down its recycling.

(iv)       Tacklers who get to their feet can play the ball.  They cannot intentionally stand on the opposition side of the tackle in order to prevent opposition players from getting to the ball.


The purpose here is to not only to give the ball-carriers more time to ‘play the ball’ thus providing greater continuity, but to allow for arriving players to not only legally contest possession but for them to clear players within the tackle zone whilst being able to remain on their feet.  With players on the ground shifting themselves away from the contest area, such will also result in lifting the height of any ruck by half a metre. 




(i)           The action of tackling around the neck/head (grappling) of a player will be deemed as Foul Play and ruled upon accordingly.

(ii)         The action of dangerously ‘diving on’ or ‘shoulder dropping’ on to a player will also be deemed as Foul Play.

(iii)       Lifting/Tip tackles will be ruled as Dangerous Play.  It is the responsibility of the tackler to bring a player back down to ground safely…not drop him/her or drive them to the ground.  Referees should base their decisions on what the iRB/NZRU policy is on these types of tackles and will be considering the more serious sanction option first.






(i)            Offside players from both teams will be ruled upon equitably.  This includes not only the defensive team (guard-dogs, rocks, etc – as well as those players positioned out wide) but the ball-carriers Pillars and Posts along with others obstructing the defensive team from an offside position.  This refers to both ‘close-in’ and ‘wide-out’ defenders and attackers.

(ii)          Greater attention is to be given to those non-participating players positioned closest to the breakdown areas.

(iii)        Players moving along the field on their hands will be regarded as being off their feet and will liable to sanction.

(iv)       Players protecting the tackled ball who intentionally fall on to the ball when contacted by opposition players will be deemed to have left their feet.




(i)           Once a ruck has formed a joining player must bind on to a team mate at the back and alongside that player at the ruck/maul.  Players will not be allowed to to join by cleaning out opposition one past a team-mate positioned at the back of the ruck (last feet).

(ii)         If there is no team-mate, players must join by binding on to an opponent (full arm) and at the ‘last feet’ of the ruck.   


The purpose of this is to allow for the space in and around the collision area that the law provides for and to ensure unprotected players within the collision area do not become targets of illegal play.