2017 – 2018 USA Rugby Game Management Guidelines

Please review the newly released Game Management Guidelines from USA Rugby for 2017. Though the material is developed for referees, it is applicable to all stakeholders of the game including players and coaches. Please download the file and read through the updates:

2017 – 2018 Game Management Guidelines

As there are quite a few new law trials this time around, USA Rugby has also put together a presentation going over the trials as well as supporting videos:

USA Rugby Presentation on the 2017 Law Trials

Level 1 Officiating 15s – June 17 in Austin, TX

Level 1 Officiating 15s
Saturday, June 17, 2017 (8:00 AM – 5:00 PM)
Comfort Suites Austin Airport
7501 E Ben White Blvd
Austin, TX  78741
: Hosted by: Texas Rugby Referee Association
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:


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

September 2016 – USA Rugby Game Management Guidelines

USA RugbyThe New Game Management Guidelines, September 2016, are here: USA Rugby Game Management Guidelines – September 2016

Below are some key focus areas for match officials:

  1. Establish Behavior:
    1. Lineout:
      1. Set up & maintain a large gap (allows more room for the throw)
      2. Defensive hooker in position in the 5m area
      3. Manage numbers
      4. Sack has to be immediate
    2. Maul:
      1. Correct formation – handing the ball to a player that is not bound who then joins the maul is obstruction
      2. Ball carrier may not slide to the back – obstruction
      3. Players may not join in front of the ball carrier
      4. Defenders not to swim/slide up the side
      5. Do not allow collapsing or defenders falling to the ground to stop a driving maul
    3. Tackle:
      1. Set your standards early, rather than debate:
        1. Tacklers not rolling should be penalized early
        2. Tackler assist has to clearly release and join through the gate
        3. The key to refereeing the tackle well is positioning – work to be on the attacking side, 45º, north/south body position
    4. Space:
      1. Manage offside lines
      2. Hands on ground have to be behind the offside line
      3. Kicks in general play – offside players may not move forward – referee to instruct them to “stop”. Look across the field on both sides
    5. Scrum:
      1. Teams to form the scrum within 30 seconds: FK
      2. Three calls, three actions
      3. Ensure both teams are stationary before proceeding to the next call
      4. Props to bind on their opponents body on the side or back, not under the body or on the arm
      5. Wait for the scrum to be square and stationary before instructing the scrum half to put the ball in
      6. If the scrum is stationary (3-5s) and the ball is available to be played, instruct the scrum half to “use it”
    6. Foul Play:
      1. Do not debate foul play, put the onus on the players to keep it clean
  2. Advantage:
      1. Set standards early rather than playing excessive advantage
      2. Remember that a Penalty Kick has major benefits to a team, I.e. Kick for touch 30m+, kick at goal, etc.
      3. Do not referee advantage like you do in Sevens
  3. Referee abuse:
    1. Verbal abuse by team coaches, team staff or team substitutes directed at match officials or players should not be tolerated and the following process should be followed:
      1. The referee will ask the identified person to refrain from their behavior
      2. On the second occasion the referee will EJECT the person from the grounds
      3. Zero tolerance approach should be applied and if the person refuses to leave the referee should request that team’s captain to assist
      4. Failing compliance the referee may abandon the match
      5. The referee must restart the game according to the latest stoppage and must NOT award a penalty due to the sideline behavior
    2. It is essential that we, as a community, stand together and work together to develop rugby in the United States. It will be through mutual respect and support that we grow the game. As referees, we need to ensure that we follow the above process regarding abuse as to eliminate it from the game.

NOTE: If time expires and a team is awarded a PK, they may kick to touch to end the game, but they do not get to take the lineout. That was a trial Law approved by World Rugby for PRO Rugby and Super Rugby only.

If you have any questions or need clarifications please feel free to contact me.


RICHARD EVERY  |  High Performance Referee Manager

World Rugby Law Clarification 2 – Injury from Foul Play

World-Rugby-Laws-of-the-GamePlease review the second clarification from World Rugby this year. It addresses some specifics regarding the new section of Law 3.14 (Substituted Players Rejoining a Match – injured as a result of foul play). The clarification is very straightforward, but please write to me if you have any questions.

2016 Law Clarification 2 Injury from Foul Play

Peter Watson
Chair, USA Rugby Law Committee


Reminders for High School Season!

Rugby TexasKurt Weaver, Director of Youth & High School Rugby provided these reminders for the high school season. We know you have heard this before, but it bears reminding as we have seen some matches played missing required items. Please let us know if you have questions around any item and enjoy your rugby.

  1. Medical Coverage is required for all HS matches in the USA, friendly and league play. Rugby Texas specifically requires a licensed trainer (LT). NOTE: Referee should not start match until medical is present.
  2. Technical Zones are required for all HS league matches in the USA. (see the TZ requirements at https://usarugby.org/youth-resources. Referee should not start match until TZ’s are present and in use and both teams are on the same side of the field)
  3. Squeeze Ball is illegal for all HS and Youth rugby.
  4. Fends to the head/neck/face are illegal for HS and Youth rugby. A legal fend used to be allowed if done correctly, but any contact with the head/neck/face is now liable for penalty.

Thank you for your consideration and enjoy the spring season!

Complete the Referee L1 Course & we’ll refund you the cost!

10419457_648274051928755_5105821905885691897_nRefereeing is a fun, exciting, non-contact way to be involved with Rugby. There are many reasons to take up officiating, you get to see all the action from the best position on the field, it’s a great way to keep fit, enhance your knowledge of the laws, and meet new and interesting people.

The one-day Level 1 Referee course will teach you the fundamentals of the referee’s involvement in the game. The Course comprises of ten units of online learning and some face-to-face learning. Once you have completed the online and face-to-face sessions, you will have gained the skills and knowledge needed to be a fair and effective referee.

What about my $60 bucks?

Very simple! The next course will be held in conjunction with the TRU Summ it in Dallas, TX. Register, complete the certification course and then work with the Texas Rugby Referee Association to officiate four matches (we’ll provide a coaching and additional training) and then the TRU will refund you the course cost ($60).  On top of that you will also receive a match reimbursement per match of at least $50, that’s $200 for a couple of weekends!

Level 1 Referee Course – Apr 18, 2015 @ Richardson, TX

1176276_504162323006596_207390337_nIn conjunction with the SWWC 7s Tournament we are hosting a Level 1 Referee Course. We are looking forward to grooming a team of new referees to take their place on Local, National and Olympic stages.

We urge players, administrators, coaches, parents, spectators, and fans to consider giving back to the game by becoming a rugby referee. It is an incredibly rewarding experience and you have the best seat in the house! Also once you become a registered referee you are eligible for Kit, Match Fees and Mileage!


Eligibility: This is the entry or introductory level course to rugby refereeing. Read below for course registration, participants must register for certification and material.

Cost: $60

Where: Fuzzy’s Taco Shop [MAP]
561 W. Campbell Road
Richardson, 75080

Certification: Current USA Rugby membership, including registration as a referee, attend and participate in all course modules, pass online law exam and rugby ready exam prior to course, and complete short safety quiz administered at course site.

Description: The purpose of this introductory course is to enable officials to acquire basic skills to officiate safe, enjoyable competition. Course certification is required for anyone who wishes to referee any match that could potentially lead to a National Championship.

The course focuses on: Game knowledge, Role of the referee, Planning, Advantage, Touch, Principles of rugby, Positioning, Referee preparation, Open play, Lineout, Principles of refereeing, Communication, Technical, Contact, Foul play, Management, Risk management, Starting & restarting the game, Scrum, and how to have fun as a rugby referee.

Course Registration, Cost and CIPP: The cost is $60.00. Registration can be accomplished on-line. AFTER REGISTERING, PLEASE FORWARD THE CONFIRMATION EMAIL TO THE COURSE EDUCATOR

Items needed to attend the course (click on the links below):


Referee Certifications – Host & Attendees Wanted!

Texas Rugby Referee AssociationThis fall TRRA would like to host several Referee Certification Courses! We are also looking for hosts of these events, if you are interested, please let admin@texasrugbyunion.com know ASAP!


Level 1 Certification – Date TBD – HOST NEEDED!

Prerequisites: None!

The purpose of this course is to enable officials to acquire basic skills to officiate safe, enjoyable competition.

Level 2 Certification – 10/11/14 – HOST NEEDED!

Prerequisites: Current USA Rugby membership, including registration as a referee; Level 1 Officiating course certification or equivalent and one full season of refereeing.

The purpose of this course is to enable officials to develop further the skills acquired in the introductory course so as to officiate safe, enjoyable competition. Course accreditation is one requirement for promotion to the Territorial Panel.

Level 1 Coaching Match Officials – 10/4/14** | Austin, TX | HOST NEEDED!

Prerequisites: Current USA Rugby membership.

The purpose of this course is to introduce the concept and role of referee coaching to enable assistance and guidance to develop the referee.

**We would highly recommend that all team coaches take this course to aid in their understanding of the development of referees.

Scott Green & Wendy Young Have Received USA Rugby Referee Appointments!

sgreen wyoungCongratulations to Scott and Wendy as they have received appointments again at USA Rugby National Championships. Please take a moment and help us congratulate these two as they are very hard working referees and deserving of these appointments.


May 17-18 @ Irving, TX – USA Rugby Club National Championships

Note that Green has also received several D1A, PRP & NACRA Test Match (Assistant Referee) appointments this year as well.


Apr 26-27 @ Atlanta, GA – USA Rugby College National Championships
May 17-18 @ Irving, TX – USA Rugby Club National Championships

For more information on the upcoming tournaments, go here and here.