Level 1 Officiating 15s – Jan 21 @ Austin, TX – CANCELLED

Date/Time: Saturday, January 21, 2017 (8:00 AM – 5:00 PM)
Organizer: Rugby Texas – SRO
Clinic Details
Registration Information & Fees
Clinic Description
Course is part of the Try On Rugby Officiating campaign.

Pre-course Registration Requirements.  Students must complete the following World Rugby online modules available at the World Rugby Passport website.  First, register with WR on their Passport website that you will access with the noted links.  After completing each module, download the certificate you will receive from WR and email it to education@usarugby.org where it will be uploaded into your USA Rugby member profile.  The three WR modules to be completed in order to register for this course are:

Location & Contact Information
Facility: Courtyard by Marriott- Austin South
4533 South IH 35
Austin, TX  78744
Course Host: Kelly Madonna
Email: kelly.madonna@rugbytexas.org
Phone: 214-505-2722

Register Now! CANCELLED (due to low numbers)

Level 1 Officiating 15s – Jan 7 @ Norman, OK

Date/Time: Saturday, January 07, 2017 (8:00 AM – 5:00 PM)
Organizer: The University of Oklahoma Men’s Rugby
Clinic Details
Clinic Description
Pre-course Registration Requirements.  Students must complete the following World Rugby online modules available at the World Rugby Passport website.  First, register with WR on their Passport website that you will access with the noted links.  After completing each module, download the certificate you will receive from WR and email it to education@usarugby.org where it will be uploaded into your USA Rugby member profile.  The three WR modules to be completed in order to register for this course are:

Location & Contact Information
Facility: The University of Oklahoma
660 Parrington Oval
Norman, OK  73019
Course Host: Douglas Neubauer
Email: dneubaue@hotmail.com
Phone: 817-360-5368
Other Information/Notes:
Register Now!

Interactions with TRRA Referees

Based on guidance from World Rugby and USA Rugby, the following information is to be passed to all rugby clubs that utilize the TRRA for referees.

–          Match referee is to be contacted by home team no later than Wednesday prior to a Saturday match or 72 hours to any match.  Confirmation of kickoff time and location are required. It is the home team’s responsibility to verify visiting team will play.

–          When Assistant referees are not assigned, teams should have touch judges identified and presented to referee upon the referee’s arrival to pitch. In addition, front row waivers and CIPP rosters with jersey numbers listed must be provided to referee prior to kickoff.

–          Team Assigned Touch Judges are there to judge touch and conversion kicks, nothing else. At no time will a touch judge approach a referee and question a call during the match.

–          A technical zone should be present on every pitch. If there is no technical zone, then all players and coaches should be behind the 5 meter barrier. The referee may allow the head coach to remain inside the barrier. If so, the coach should remain in the area between the 22 meter and 10 meter lines.

–          At halftime, there are absolutely no match related conversations with the referee.

–          Immediately after the match, do not approach the referee and ask questions about the match. Wait at least 24 hours to ask any questions. When conversing with a referee, please be professional and questions should be related to laws of rugby.

–          Complete a referee assessment

–          If you have any questions regarding a referee’s performance, please contact the TRRA Chairman or Vice Chairman and provide video of the match.

Visit our website to see the latest on rugby laws. TEXASRUGBYREF.COM

Ball Carrier Hurdling Tackler Guideline

USA RugbyWe have been asked many times if this is Dangerous Play. This is not specified in Law 10.4, and the question cannot be answered with a simple yes or no because there are so many possible variations on the situation.

The short answer is that sometimes it is dangerous and other times it is not, depending on the circumstances. Each play must be judged on its own merit by the referee. Here are some factors to consider when viewing this sort of play:

  1. Dangerous Play is not restricted to the specific actions listed in 10.4. That is a list of many of the most common occurrences of Dangerous Play, but the fact that an action isn’t listed does not mean the referee cannot penalize for something deemed dangerous when seen in a game. Here are some actions that aren’t listed in 10.4, but which definitely could be called dangerous:
    1. biting an opponent
    2. spitting on an opponent
    3. punching a teammate
  2. There is general agreement that if the defender is directly in front of the ball carrier and standing in a normal tackling position, and the ball carrier goes over the defender like clearing the high hurdles, this is dangerous. There are two reasons:
      1. It is dangerous to the opponent because that action brings boots into close proximity of a players face/head.
      2. It is dangerous to the ball carrier because if the defender manages to make contact while attempting to tackle, the ball carrier could get flipped and land on his head/neck.
      3. Also remember that there are many examples that could be called “hurdling” that are just fine and we see them in almost every game:
        1. Jumping over a player who is lying on the ground
        2. Jumping to avoid the outstretched arms of a diving tackle attempt from the side.


    In conclusion, if it is hurdling a standing (or crouched) defender directly in front of the ball carrier, it is dangerous. If it is something from paragraph three it is most likely fine. For the middle range, the referee needs to judge based on what is presented at the moment.


    Richard Every
    High Performance Referee Manager

7s Rolling Substitutions – New Law Variation

usa_rugby_logoWorld Rugby is trialing a variation regarding substitutions in sevens. The USA Rugby Committee has approved the use of this Variation in all domestic competitions effective June 18, 2016.

The exact wording is copied below, but in essence it allows a player to return to the game after having been substituted off. The team is still restricted to a total of five substitutions during the game. [This includes any extra time – there are no additional substitutes permitted during additional playing time.]

The Exception that allows a replacement for a player with a blood injury remains, even after a team has made all five of its allowed substitutions.

The Law that allows a temporary replacement for head injury assessment (which is referenced in this Variation) IS NOT APPROVED FOR DOMESTIC USE.

Peter Watson
Chair, USA Rugby Law sub-committee


3.4 Players nominated as substitutes

  • A team may nominate up to five replacements/substitutes.
  • A team may substitute or replace up to five players.
  • A team may substitute the same player more than once as long as no more than 5 substitutions are made in total. See 3.13 for exception

3.13 Substituted players rejoining the match

If a player is substituted, that player may return to play in that match under the following circumstances:

  • Up to 5 tactical substitutions per game
  • In addition to which players may return to play when replacing:
    • a player with a blood injury in accordance with Law 3.11
    •  a player undertaking a Head Injury Assessment in accordance with Law 3.12. NOT IN EFFECT FOR DOMESTIC COMPETITIONS

Greg Varnell Promoted to B Panel

13151903_1145195178837462_3574610401267609484_nAfter discussions with USA Rugby Referee Leadership, it is a very distinct pleasure and true honor for the TRRA to announce that Greg Varnell has been promoted to B panel referee, effective immediately.

Greg has been an exceptional referee, coach and mentor for many years. His contributions to the TRRA, the TRU and USA Rugby are endless.

Let us be clear, Greg is not retiring or riding off into the sunset. We fully expect to see him in center for the top matches in Texas for many more years.

Please reach out to Greg and congratulate him on his promotion. It has been several years since we had someone earn this promotion in Texas.

Well done Sir!

Update to Match Change Process

Please note that we have made an adjustment to the match change request. In the past you would contact your divisional rep and the TRU Admin. While this was effective, it unfortunately did create quite a bit of work as not all information was always available. To cut down on the back and forth, we’ve created an Add/Change/Drop Form.

With this form we can more effectively track changes to see patterns and be more efficient.

Changes within 14 days

Note that changes that are within 14 days of the event will incur a $50 fee. Every effort is made to assign referees weeks out and when teams make requests to add, change or drop a match this is a major inconvenience for all parties involved. If your match change request falls within 14 days, payment will need to be made FIRST and then the change will be processed.

Note that this fee will be applied to all teams that utilize the TRRA. Any attempts to circumvent this by alerting a referee of a match change but not using this form will be referred to the appropriate authority to determine if sanctions should be applied.

Add/Change/Drop Form

Coaches are Not to Approach Referee at Half-time

Note that this policy has been adopted by the TRRA!


Under no circumstances are team coaches allowed to approach the referee at half-time.

If they do, you ask them to convey all questions through their captain, but you absolutely do not discuss anything with the coach at half-time. If the coach persists the referee will EJECT the coach from the grounds. Zero tolerance approach should be applied and if the person refuses to leave the referee should request that team’s captain to assist. Failing compliance the referee may abandon the match.

RICHARD EVERY | USA Rugby High Performance Referee Manager

World Rugby Law Changes to Take Effect Feb 1, 2016

These changes are effective as of February 1, 2016 for the Northern Hemisphere, this includes all matches played in the TRU or as RRRC league matches.

Law 3 – Number of Players

3.5, which addresses the number of players who are capable of playing in the front row, and how their number affects the total number of players a team may use has been re-written for better clarity with no substantive changes. The part of this section which covers uncontested scrums has been split and now is a separate section (3.6). All the subsequent sections have been re-numbered.

3.12, which covers substituted players rejoining the match (now re-numbered to 3.14) has had one additional condition added. In addition to front row replacement, blood injury replacement and (in Elite games with WR permission) temporary replacement for Head Injury Assessment, a substituted player may be used to replace a player who was injured as a result of Foul Play (as verified by the Match Officials).

Law 4 – Player Clothing (Clarification)

Player jerseys must have sleeves that extend at least half way from the point of the shoulder to the elbow.

Law 5 – Time (Clarification)

In the last year there were a couple of Clarifications regarding what happens when there is a score very close to the end of the half or the game. Those have been incorporated into Law [5.7 (g) and (h)]. In essence, if the the conversion kick is taken (or the try awarded and the team chooses not to take the conversion per 9.B.2) before time expires, the next restart will happen even if time expires between the kick and when the players are prepared to restart. And, if a restart is taken under these circumstances with time expired, and the kick is taken incorrectly (e.g. not ten, etc.), the referee will offer the options in Law 13.

Law 6 – The Referee’s Authority

6.C, which covers persons coming onto the pitch to treat injured players has been re-written to make distinction between qualified and unqualified medical staff. Sub-sections 2 and 3 have been combined into one.

Law 8 – Advantage

The section listing situations where advantage cannot be played (8.3) has seen collapsed scrums removed. The referee now has the option of playing advantage if he feels players are not endangered. The referee DOES NOT have the option of playing advantage if the front row is lifted.

Law 9 – Scoring

In the 7s Variations, the time the kicker has to take the conversion after a try is now thirty seconds from the time the try is awarded.

Law 10 – Foul Play

Unfair Play – 10.2. A new provision has been added. “A player must not commit any act that may lead the match officials to consider that that player was subject to foul play or any other type of infringement committed by an opponent.” Penalty Kick Section 10.3 (b) – Repeated Infringements. The last sentence has been removed. The referee is no longer constrained in how a second repeat offender is handled.

Law 12 – Throw Forward

The definition has been slightly re-written for clarity with regard to “towards the dead ball line.” The definition has also been augmented to include the Clarifications regarding balls being knocked or ripped out of the ball carrier’s hands by a defender.

Law 17 – Maul

This isn’t a Law change, but rather some guidance on the application. The ball in a maul may be moved backwards hand-to-hand. A player is not allowed to move/slide to the back of the maul when that player is in possession of the ball.

Law 19 – Lineout

19.4 (b), which addresses the ball being knocked-on into touch has been revised to also include thrown-forward into touch (which was already part of 12.1). (Clarification)

The section addressing blocking the throw-in has been re-written so that it applies to all players (not just lineout players). 19.10 (h)

Law 20 – Scrum

There is now a specific time on the “no delay in forming a scrum”. Free kick after thirty seconds. 20.1 (d)

Front rows coming together has been slightly re-written to require the players be “ear to ear”. 20.1 (f)

Ending the scrum now includes a “use it” provision once the ball is at the last player’s feet and is not moving forward. 20.10 (d)

A scrum that has wheeled past 180 is no longer a turnover. The original team throws in again. 20.11 (b)

The scrum half of the team not in possession must now stay out of the pocket. 20.12 (c)

Law 21 – Penalty and Free Kicks

All penalty and free kicks that are awarded close to the goal line are to be given five meters out, regardless of the team (no longer just the attacking team’s penalties). 21.2 (a)

Additional Resources

151007 LRG Minor Law amendment – AGREED[5]

151007 LRG Clarifications into Law – AGREED[2]

Why I Became a Rugby Referee

Thirty players on one pitch, all managed by one whistle…sounds daunting, right? Not as much as you’d think, being a rugby referee means you have the best seat in the house! The TRRA is hosting the countries first ever women’s only Level 1 Referee Course (sponsored by Try on Rugby) this weekend in Houston. Along with USA Rugby’s support, the TRRA looks to increase the number of certified active female referees in Texas. Two women will earn a spot at a USA training camp during the iRB Women’s 7s series in Atlanta 7s.

Before the unprecedented event this weekend, TRRA asked some female veteran referees and newly certified referees what led them to pick up the whistle:

Jacque ‘Jac’ Harrell – C3 (College Station, TX)

Jacque Harrell - TRRA Rugby RefereeBeing a referee was never part of the plan, I just wanted to be a better player. Someone told me the best way to learn a sport is to be a referee of it. I figured it was a quick way to learn the rules, so I took a course at the summit in August from Traci Young. She was an amazing instructor with an incredible amount of patience and passion for the game.  She walked us through a game and we even had the chance to practice with a real scrimmage.

A few weeks later I was the center ref at a collegiate tournament. I’m a 27 year old that discovered I was scared of blowing a whistle. Luckily, Wendy and Traci Young were on the side to help me through it. They kept it upbeat and talked me through the game from the side with no ridicule. If they hadn’t of been there I might not of been a ref again after that game. I’m still reffing because I feel I still have so much more to learn about the game and there really is no better seat than right there on the pitch.

Meredith Frasier - TRRA Rugby RefereeMeredith Frasier – C3 (Houston, TX)

At first I became a referee so I could become more knowledgeable about the laws, and maybe free up a higher level referee or two for women’s matches by taking a few lower level or friendly matches. Help spread one of the lesser seen burdens of a sport that’s gaining popularity quickly across more shoulders. After all, without a referee its hard to play a match. Also, at 29 I also realize that the number of years my body will be able to and family life allow me to continue playing with my team competitively are unfortunately decreasing. Refereeing gives me the option to continue on in another capacity with the sport I love.

My favorite part is the scrums. From start to finish refereeing the scrum is my favorite especially at the Senior men’s match. There is something about being right there with a few thousand pounds of men intently listening to getting ready to engage that makes me feel like I could do anything. That doesn’t mean scrums are not tricky to referee and that I take them lightly! I am a lock so I get to taste the energy without my head being squished.

A piece of advice: Don’t let your first few matches define the experience for you. After the weekend of my first two, I wanted to quit. Since I was committed to another tournament the next weekend I put off the decision, and worked hard on the referee skills that were the weakest to prepare. Now, I am so glad I stood by my commitment and didn’t give up, because I would have cheated myself out of something that I not only enjoy but out of an awesome community as well.

Traci Young – C1 (Austin, TX)

Traci Schmidtke Young - TRRA Rugby RefereeI became a certified referee in 2008. I was still playing at the time, so I couldn’t ref full-time, but I wanted to help out the college women teams as they usually got the bottom of the barrel or no referee. I refereed my first game at Corpus Christi 7s By the Sea and I was surprised at how fun it actually was and that I really wasn’t that bad.

A few years later, I was coming to the end of my playing career; however, I still had that competitive drive. I soon realized that being a referee was the next chapter in my rugby career. The TRRA was my new team and my teammates were now spread across the state. Being a referee requires me to stay physically fit and challenges me mentally. Refereeing brought new challenges as well as adventures. I have had the opportunity to referee the High School Girls National Championships, in-goal for the iRB Women’s 7s series and center the TRU Division II Championships.

Wendy Young – C1 (Austin, TX)

Wendy Young - TRRA Rugby RefereeI took my Level 1 course in 2007 in a room full of men. I was expecting that my teammate and I would be the only females at the course, but was surprised that we were the only ones under 35. After the course I received my first Acme Thunderer whistle, yellow and red cards and a small iRB ready booklet. A few weeks later I accepted an assignment and stepped out on the pitch to referee a collegiate women’s game and was hooked.

Looking back now, I became a referee because I wanted to learn the laws, stay fit and give back to the game. At the time I was still playing competitive rugby and eventually retired in 2011 to become a full-time referee. If you’re searching for competition after hanging up your boots, refereeing has that as well. There is competition for appointments, fitness testing, law knowledge and advancement.

Looking back, I would never have imagined how much I would love it or the opportunities I’ve had and hopefully will continue to experience. My highlights would be AR/IG at the iRB (now World Rugby) Women’s 7s Series, multiple USA Appointments in 7s & 15s and refereeing the RRRC Men’s DI Club decider between the Austin Blacks and Dallas Reds last year (both final four contenders in the USA Rugby Men’s Club National Championships).