official referee partner


You're interested in taking up the "best seat in the house"?

We need referees for games from the Under 8s through to seniors.

Whatever your ability and aspirations, there is a game that needs you.

Under 6-7NoneNoneUsually refereed by the coaches, who have done the Coaching Kids Rugby U6-7 course. Contact your club minis coordinator for more details.
Under 8-12Refereeing Kids Rugby U8-12Optional ExamMust be 13 years old to referee this age group.
Under 13 to seniorFoundationLevel 1 Referee - requires exam & competency assessmentMust be 15 years old to referee U13 or older games.
VIVA7s (non-contact)VIVA7s RefereeNone>This is an online course on the Rugby Learning Centre. Contact your local centre coordinator to start refereeing.

Click on the course you're interested in and it will take you to the new Rugby Portal, from where you will access the Rugby Learning Centre to register for your course.

You will be given all the details for who to contact to start refereeing at your course. You are welcome to contact your local referee association before then and start getting involved in their social and educational activities before that.

Have you done your course and are wondering what to do next? Login to the Rugby Learning Centre and it will tell you what you still need to do (under 'not started' or 'in progress').


More than a touch judge, you are there to assist the referee, which leads to a better game for everyone. A touch judge cannot rule on foul play, while an Assistant Referee can.

Many competitions expect that each team provides an accredited Assistant Referee (AR). You'll be close to the action but out of the spotlight. This may be a good way to decide if you want to go further and become a referee.

Under 8-12Assistant Refereeing Kids Rugby U8-U12Complete online course13 Years oldCompleting AR-Kids Rugby course again, or upgrade to AR Level 1
Under 13 and olderAssistant Referee Level 1Complete online course and pass online exam13 years oldCompleting the AR Level 1 Re-accreditation program (exam)

There is also an Assistant Referee Level 2 course, which is requirement for Level 2 Referee accreditation. This is a face-to-face course, and dates will be published at

Go straight to the Rugby Portal to access the AR-Kids Rugby or AR-Level 1 courses. If you are involved with Rugby you likely already have an account. Your username will be your email address or Rugby AU ID (which is not your RugbyLink Player ID). You will need to use the password reset function if you haven't accessed the Rugby Learning Centre before. The Rugby Portal login page has an extensive user guide explaining how to access it for the first time.
Accreditation lasts for 4 years. Re-accredit by enrolling in the applicable 'Re-accreditation' program in the Rugby Learning Centre and completing the exam.
Rugby Australia policy is that Assistant Referees under the age of 17 cannot be appointed to matches more than two years above their own age group (e.g. an AR turning 16 in the current year cannot AR an U18 or older match).

In Sydney the competition rules set the following deadlines to gain accreditation:

Sydney Juniors - bonus competition points from Round 5.

Suburban - fines apply from Round 8.


A better Referee is likely to result in a better experience for players. How does a Referee become better? Generally with the assistance of a Referee Coach or other mentor.
There are no prerequisites to attend the referee coach course - just the right attitude! If you are interested in and rewarded by helping people to improve themselves, then this is the job for you. There is a pathway to international level Referee Coaching if you want to follow that path.
The Level 1 Referee Coach course will give you the required information on what and how to coach. You will be supported by more experienced Referee Coaches after the course to ease you into the role and complete the accreditation requirements.

Click on the course you're interested in and it will take you to the new Rugby Portal, from where you will access the Rugby Learning Centre to register for your course.

You will be given all the details for who to contact to start refereeing at your course. You are welcome to contact your local referee association before then and start getting involved in their social and educational activities before that.

Have you done your course and are wondering what to do next? Login to the Rugby Learning Centre and it will tell you what you still need to do (under 'not started' or 'in progress').


We intend to build this page so it can become a one-stop shop for your reference. Please send through any additional content you find or would like added.

Report a Send-off

Login to the Referee Appointment System, click on Appointment History and Add (alternatively click on Send-off it your appointment is not in RAS.

Report an off-field incident

Read about Respect Rugby or fill out the online Respect Rugby incident report.

Education resources

The NSWRU and Rugby AU referee departments regularly produce educational resources. Access these presentations or attend a face-to-face session. We have linked to other online resources that you may find useful.

Help with online systems for referees

Find information on how to access and use:
• RRIMS (referee coaching report system)
• Referee Appointments System (including availability portal)
• RugbyLink (registration)
• Rugby Learning Centre (course registration, exams and online training)

Development pathways

Read about opportunities for your development here.

Association administration

Find best practice resources for association administration.

NSWRU Appointments and Grading

Find information about the NSWRU appointment and grading processes.


If you need a referee, firstly ensure that your game is covered by insurance. Your school or club may already have this arranged. If not, contact the following people to arrange it:

Metro - Tim Richards (NSW Suburban Rugby)
Country - Stephen O'Brien (NSW Country Rugby)

Your game must be sanctioned by the Rugby AU and NSWRU before a referee will be appointed. See the Rugby AU website for information on sanctioning or teams touring from overseas.

For appointment of referee to games in the metro area contact Tom Chadwick (Referee Administration Officer).

For country appointments, contact your local association


Rugby AU match official accreditation is recognised as part of the Australian Sports Commission's National Officiating Accreditation Scheme. Your accreditation will be accepted anywhere in Australia and in most places overseas.

By meeting the requirements for accreditation you have demonstrated the required standards for that accreditation. However, the process of learning and improvement as a match official is continuous. There is a requirement to re-accredit, generally every four years. Accreditation expires on 31 Dec of the relevant year, except Smart Rugby (which expires on 1 April).

The Rugby AU Match Officials Accreditation and Accreditation Renewal Policy is available here. The requirements for each accreditation are here.


To enrol in one of the programs above login to the Rugby Learning Centre (through the Rugby Portal) and 'Browse Learning' for the required program. Any pre-requisites will be listed and you will be able to enrol if you meet them.


If you need Recognition of Prior Learning or Recognition of Current Competency, contact the NSW Referee Education Coordinator, Alex Richards, at for an assessment of your documents.


To access an exam, go to the Rugby Learning Centre (through the Rugby Portal). You will also be able to check your accreditation status and what needs to be done to re-accredit.


If you need a competency assessment, arrange this through your association or school. If that proves difficult, contact Alex as above. You can download the competency statements here. Your assessor will need to load your assessment into RRIMS for it to be recognised.


Q1. Will I be paid to officiate?

Answer: The vast majority of match officials in Australia are volunteers, including in Rugby. You will not be 'paid' for your service. However, you are not expected to make financial sacrifice for your essential role in facilitating the game. Rugby AU's recommendation (implemented by most associations in NSW) is that you should receive a reimbursement for each game you officiate. The amount of this will vary depending on the level of game and your location. Some associations also provide a reimbursement for fuel and other expenses related to your role.

Q2. How much does it cost to referee?

Answer: You will generally need to pay for any education courses you attend, although your referee association may reimburse you on successful completion of accreditation requirements. Referee uniform is provided by NSWRU to accredited referees through their association or school. You will need to pay for your own boots and whistle (which is included in the Refereeing Kids Rugby U8-12 course). As most associations reimburse you for expenses and/or per game you referee, you should find that it does not cost you money to referee (assuming you do at least five games in a year).

Q3. Do I need a Working With Children Check?

Answer: Only if you have contact with children without other adults being present (as per the NSW Kids Guardian website). This would generally only apply to Referee Coaches working with referees under the age of 18. As a referee or assistant referee you should not need a Working With Children Check.

Q4. What are the recommended sanctions for a send-off?

Answer: Recommended sanctions are contained in World Rugby Regulation 17. All judiciaries are expected to follow the guidelines in this document. As the person completing a send-off form, your only responsibility is to judge whether the offence was low-end, mid-range or high-end. Guidance on this is available in the Scale of Seriousness.

Q5. How do I access an exam?

Answer: Login to the Rugby Learning Centre. This will show you your current accreditation status, including what exams or other activities you still need to complete.

Q6. How do I get a MyRugby card?

Answer: These are sent out periodically by the Rugby AU. Once you complete all requirements for a particular accreditation you will be added to the list to receive a card in the next card run. It may take a month or more for your card to arrive, depending on when the next run is done. You can print out a copy of your accreditation from the Rugby Learning Centre is the interim.

Q7. What are the guidelines about speaking to a referee?

Answer: The guidelines are in the Respect Rugby manual, particularly the coaches' code of conduct. Coaches are not to speak with the referee during or within 15 mins of the end of the game. If they want a question asked, they need to have their Captain ask it. During a match the main communication should be between the Captain and Referee, in line with what the Referee has briefed before the game (the 'contract').

Q8. Am I covered by insurance?

Answer: Read the Rugby AU insurance page for complete details. In general, if you are a registered (and financial) member of a referee association or club, then you will be covered by the Gow Gates insurance policy arranged by the Rugby AU for all Rugby participants. If you are refereeing for a school (not appointed to by an association), then you will not be covered by the Rugby AU's insurance and should confirm that the school's insurance will cover you. If you are refereeing a tournament or 'friendly' match, do not referee the game unless the organiser has arranged insurance for it. If in doubt, contact NSWRU and ask us.

Q9. How do I get a law query answered?

Answer: The first step is generally to contact your local referee association. If they don't know the answer, they will contact NSWRU to clarify it. This will ensure that the answer is notified to the other clubs and referees in your competition so that everyone is on the same page.

Q10. How can I check my accreditation status?

Answer: Login to the Rugby Learning Centre. This will show you your current accreditation status, including what exams or other activities you still need to complete.

Q11. What course should I attend?

Answer: Have you checked the pages for Becoming a Referee, Assistant Referee or Referee Coach? If you already have Level 1 accreditation and want to move to Level 2 accreditation, browse the learning catalogue in the Rugby Learning Centre to find out more about the courses, any prerequisites and when they're on.

Q12. How do I give feedback about a referee?

Answer: Most association have a referee feedback form on their website. If not, email the contact person here with the details of your feedback (positive or negative) and they will pass it on to the appropriate person in the association. Generally if it's negative feedback it will result in a Referee Coach observing that person's next game after they've been informed of the feedback to see that the issue is fixed.

Q13. Who can determine if a player is concussed?

Answer: In community Rugby, a player who is suspected of having a concussion must be removed from the field of play immediately. See the Rugby AU concussion guidance for what signs and symptoms to look for. The Duty of Care to remove that player rests with the referee and their coaching/medical staff. Under Law 3.9 the referee has the power to order a player to leave the field because of injury, which includes concussion. There is no 'head bin' in community Rugby. If the referee suspects the player is concussed then they are off the field. The team management should then ensure that player is checked by a doctor before they take part in any further Rugby training or games.

Q14. How do I use the GPR (Game Plan Review) as a referee?

Firstly, your association needs to be using it, and secondly, you need a login. Before the game enter your Game Plan. This is a summary of how you're travelling, what you expect of/will focus on for this game, your specific work-ons (ideally no more than three, with dot points on each focus area), and a catch-phrase that summarises your approach to this game.
After discussing the game with your referee coach and/or reviewing a recording of it, you fill out your own self-review and submit it to the Referee Coach. They can either agree with you (if your analysis is comprehensive and agrees with your discussion), or add additional points. This process is designed to put you in charge of your own analysis. We discuss this more on the Level 2 Referee and Referee Coach courses.

Q15. How do I use RRIMS as a Referee Coach?

Answer: You will be given a 'restricted' login after attending the Level 1 Referee Coach course. If approved by your association Head of Coaching, this can be upgraded to access existing reports as well as to submit new ones. Check out the user-guide for a more detailed how-to.

Q16. How do I renew my SmartRugby?

Answer: From 2016 SmartRugby renewal will be online only. Access it from the Respect Rugby incident report. If the abuse was on-field, you should have used the send-off process (and then filled out a send-off report). Your report will be forwarded to the competition manager automatically and then followed up by NSWRU to ensure it is dealt with.

If you want to report a referee not turning up, or provide feedback on their performance (positive or negative), please fill out this Jotform.

Your feedback will be passed on to the appropriate referee association to assist with referee development and selection.