Tips for New (and Old) Refs


  • Stay fit
  • Watch games. Internationals and professional games are not club rugby. Go out and watch games!
  • Help your fellow refs. Be an assistant referee. Keep your equipment in the car and volunteer to help.
  • REVIEW YOUR MATCH FILM. It makes you a better referee faster than anything else. It also helps us help you learn. 
  • Read the Laws and the Game Management Guidelines (see sidebar).

After You Become A Referee

Kit Bag

  • Whistle
  • Ref Jerseys
    • Keep two jerseys (at least)
    • Yellow and Pink are the least likely to clash with teams in our area
    • Please do not wear a team/club/international jersey
  • Socks
    • Wear knee high athletic socks
    • Remember socks to change into after the game
  • Shorts
    • With pockets!! Don’t put your card wallet in your sock
  • Water Bottle!
    • Many teams do not have water sources at the pitch
    • Be prepared!
  • Sunscreen!

Before the Season

  • Stay fit. [See above.]
  • Update your availability.

During the Season

  • If you do not hear from the home team of your assigned match by Wednesday at 5 PM, contact the Scheduler/Allocator (
  • When you talk to teams, make sure you find out what their jersey colors are and… get directions! Also get a contact phone number for someone who will be at the pitch in case of emergency (i.e. traffic, accident, etc). 
  • Match day: 
    • Plan to arrive at least one hour before KO
    • Check field conditions and lines
    • You are never obligated to do more rugby than you signed up for. If a team asks you to do extra matches, you may politely decline. 
    • If you feel unsafe or uncomfortable with the behavior of any person at the pitch, you may leave. If you choose to take any action, remember you are a professional and you represent Referee Society of Virginia. If you want to talk about something, call a referee friend, call your mentor, or call the Allocator. Referee mistreatment will not be tolerated. 
  • After the match:
  • Study the Lawbook and Game Management guidelines every week.
  • REVIEW YOUR FILM and work with coaches to improve on target areas