News and Views from HQ     29 Mar 2018    

We hope you have a fantastic refereeing season, enjoy the rugby, make new friends and thrive on the challenges that refereeing brings.

In each newsletter I’d like to share with you all some SUCCESSES, some LEARNINGS and some CHALLENGES.


Richard Kelly (Taranaki) has now refereed 100 1st class games and been the referee in charge of three finals in the Sevens World Series – Sydney, Hamilton and Las Vegas.

Glen Jackson (BOP) refereed Ireland v Wales in the Six Nations Championship and had a polished performance which received positive feedback from both teams and World Rugby.

At late notice New Zealand Rugby was able to send Michael Winter (Waikato), Nick Hogan (Wellington), Tipene Cottrell (Hawkes Bay), Jamie Bell (BOP) and Pat Rae (BOP Ref Manager) to Samoa for the Marist Brothers Sevens.

Rebecca Mahoney (Waiarapa Bush) controlled the Chiefs U20's vs. Hurricanes U20’s match in Taupo and became the first women referee to control a Super Rugby development game.

NZ Rugby updated it’s “First Class Caps” policy to include male referees controlling Farah Palmer Cup matches, national sevens tournaments becoming equivalent to a 1st class cap and NZ referees controlling games overseas (ie: Top League in Japan, Pro 14 in Europe, Aviva Premiership in England) being credited with a cap.

The policy update means Keith Lawrence (BOP) and Steve Walsh Snr (North Harbour and Wellington) both reach 100 1st class caps.

Vinny Munro has decided to follow his passion and will take up a full-time role with Racing Integrity Unit.


Sevens rugby and sevens refereeing just continues to grow and grow with tournaments across NZ and around the world. The opportunities for referees are there – we are often being asked to send referees overseas to officiate. Is Sevens refereeing an area you could specialise in?

Once you have the law knowledge and the basics of refereeing learnt, the real key to your success in the 80mins is your preparation and mindset. How much time do you spend in these areas

We can be far more successful if we understand our strengths and use them more often. What are your 3 greatest strengths you can bring to your refereeing? Reflect at the end of each game “how often did I use my strengths in this match?”.

Refereeing is negatively geared and a high defeat role. Can we coach and give feedback during the season by focussing on what the referee did well and the referee’s best bits of work. This is what we want to be repeated more often.


Recruitment – can you bring a mate along to your local association? If every 3rd referee brought a mate we would have 500 new referees in NZ.

Recruitment – share the recruitment campaign with as many people as possible. Tell people the positive experiences you have had from your involvement.

Recruitment and Retention – make your weekly/fortnightly meetings  educational (with new learning), inspiring and fun. Make sure you have some social elements to your club’s programme.

Best wishes for the start of your season. I’m planning on lacing up the boots myself to experience the buzz that comes with refereeing and contributing to our great game.

Bryce Lawrence