Garret Williamson

12/3/2012 WRRA Education Meeting


The 5 priorities areas for referees in 2012 are:

  1. Tackle/Breakdown (focus on tackler; assist tackler; players sealing the ball).
  2. Offsides
  3. Scrum
  4. Offside at kicks
  5. Maul formation


Attackers want:

  • Quick ball
  • To keep possession
  • Create holes in the defence
  • Tackler and assist tackler releasing
  • Defenders not being able to support themselves

Defenders want:

  • To slow the ball down
  • To turn over possession
  • To form the defence
  • Create a fair contest for the ball

  •  Players not supporting their bodyweight – Ref can penalise and call ‘not supporting body weight’. Decision on whether to penalise, can be based on a technical decision (is the player supporting themselves) vs the tactical effect on the game (did it affect the play at the breakdown).
  • Watch for players walking through the breakdown/attempting to clear out, and then standing on the opposition side of the ruck obstructing the opposition. Did it affect the play and make it unfair? Then penalise.
  • Don’t allow sealing off of the ball. A low clearout to drive a player up and off is ok. Which team is more at risk? They are more likely to try to protect the ball unfairly.
  • Illegal entry, neck grappling, and pulling off players are all related to allowing a team to seal off the ball, so the opposition have to use illegal tactics to compete at the breakdown. Hence penalising sealing off of the ball will tidy up these areas.


  • The 4 calls are designed to get the 2 teams engaging fairly with the correct setup.
  • You want an action at each call. So inform the front rows at the briefing that your calls will occur after their corresponding actions.
  • Observe who is over the center-line after the engage. Don’t let either team get away with it. Set a standard.
  • At the crouch, look for head/shoulders above waist and good binding on the body. The loosehead shall bind on the waist, and the tighthead on the upper or middle back.
  • At the touch, look for the correct distance between the front rows.
  • The tighthead is a good indicator to watch. Are they straight, well binded, and their head above their hips.
  • Control the engage. Don’t call it until you have a stable scrum!


  • Don’t get so close to the ruck that you can’t view offside players. About 5m away and just behind the ruck is the ideal position.


  • When a maul goes to ground, the player in possession of the ball does not have to release it. There is no penalty for this. The ball should come out or if not, blow whistle and have a scrum.

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