Clarification of Assistant Referees and Touch Judges

From Richard Every | High Performance Referee Manager | USA Rugby:

All USARR appointed referees will communicate to both team coaches, whether they will be using AR’s or TJ’s.


Officially appointed by USARR/Local Referee Organization
Dressed in official referee kit
Expected to perform the PRIMARY duties below
SECONDARY duties upon the referee’s request during the AR pre-match briefing
The responsibility of decisions rests with the referee

Touch, touch in-goal
Kicks at goal
Foul Play
Additional: Running Time, Sin Bin Time, The Score, Confirming Try / No Try, Offside lines at scrums and lineouts (defense), 10m at PK’s/FK’s, Correct mark of infringements

Rucks, Mauls, Lineouts, Scrums: AR should call players that start from an offside position – referee to determine whether the ball was out or set piece was over.
Kicks in General Play: Essential to maintain space and normally easier for the far side AR to identify and call
Forward Passes: Not that easy to call – has to be clear & obviously a forward pass
Trends / Issues: Bring to the referee’s attention during stoppages of play.

NOTE: It is not the duty of the AR to call breakdown infringements. AR’s are not to shout/talk to players during play.


TJ’s are not officially appointed and are representatives from each team
It is suggested to not use members of the public but a person of each team so that both teams are represented
It is preferable not to use a member of the team’s coaching staff
A TJ’s duties are not allowed to extend beyond what are outlined below
If you have a qualified referee that is not dressed in official referee kit, they may only act as a TJ, not an AR

Touch, touch in-goal
Kicks at goal

Lastly, we ask referees to be vigilant in addressing team coaches/members/substitutes verbally abusing AR’s or TJ’s. Please follow the same protocols as outlined in the USARR GMG 2015 regarding REFEREE ABUSE.

Categories: General