15s Referee Checklist

This checklist should be used in addition to learning the IRB Laws and reviewing any law updates. Also check out the 7s Checklist.

Day Before – Morning of Match:
Eat to Fuel the Body and the Mind. Hydrate.
Get plenty of SLEEP, To ensure your Physicaly and Mentally ready.
Know your personnel needs and ensure they are meet for your performence.
Create a routine on the day(s) before, and the morning of.

Pre Match Preparation:
Clean Kit. Multiple jersey’s with contrasting colors, black shorts and socks
Properly Groomed.
Organized Kit Bag. Bags for whistles, scorecards, and pens.
Check the Pitch. Walk the pitch. Look at the 5 meters at the touch and try lines to see distance. Are the posts padded, are there proper field markings and flags. How deep is the try zone. Any hazards in the pitch like sprinkler heads, are fences to close etc.

Pre – Match Chat – Be BRIEF & DIRECT (under 3-5 mins):
Depending of the level of the players, you might talk to everyone.
Use phrases like, I will need to see…, I expect…, I am looking for ….,
Talk to all front rows and sub’s. MANDATORY. Emphasis proper binding at the scrum. Explain that a bind is the arm extended and is up and over the opposite player back, not binding onto their armpit.
Include the scrumhalves and flyhalfs in the conversation, the scrumhalves must put in a contestable ball.
Encourage the ball carriers to put the ball out away from them when they are on the ground. Encourage the tacklers to immediately move away from the tackled player. “I will need to see the tacklers KEEP moving when you hit the ground”. Both are required by LAW. This will facilitate faster and cleaner ball for the clubs.
Rugby is played on your feet, If they are on the ground, or on players on the ground, they are out of PLAY.
Explain that you will say RUCK, MAUL. Explain what you want to happen when you say those things. RUCK, hands off, from the gate, and last foot. MAUL, from the gate, last foot, keep it up.
Explain you will say RELEASE, TACKLER AWAY, at the tackle.
Tell the defending flyhalf you want to make eye contact at every lineout/scrum. This will keep your mental checklist working at every restart. i.e. Numbers, Receivers, SPACE, etc.
Explain that you need to see all quick taps, they have to happen in front of you, and LEAVE your hands, or it is a scrum to the opposite side.
Ask for questions.

Coin Toss:
Last chance to talk to Captains.
Begin Communication through Captains

ZERO tolerance for not straight. Ensure the scrumhalf is aligned with the tunnel.
ENSURE the FRONT ROW IS IN THE PROPER POSITION before starting the engagement sequence. And the TIGHT FIVE IS TIGHT.
The engagement sequence is to be SLOW; there should be a pause between each word.
Make eye contact with defending Flyhalf.
Determine where the defending scrumhalf is. THEY cannot go around the scrum and come up the other side. IF they do not approach the scrum, then they HAVE TO STAY BACK FIVE METERS.
STAND UP and position yourself behind the scrumhalves. Move away to see the put-in and the ball moving through the scrum.
After the put in, move to the position of even with the 8 man’s feet if the backline is behind you.
If the backline is moving away from you continue to move towards the flyhalf, even if the ball is slowly being produced, but keep your running line out of the way of the pass.
Go to the non putting in side if there is a problem with the front rows. If there is no problem, then stay on the put in side.

At the first lineout, set the gap with the two front rows, EMPOWER them to keep the gap. If you have to correct the gap, do it verbally. DO NOT EVER walk through the tunnel, stay at the front and make THEM move.
Make eye contact with the defending Flyhalf.
Stand in the front in the field of play. Stand about three meters infield and three meters from the line of touch, with your shoulders turned at a 45 degree angle. This will enable you to see the thrower, the receiving flyhalf, defending flyhalf, and the players in the line. The jumper will tell you where it ball is being thrown. Watch where he catches the throw in.
When at a lineout in the Red Zone, (within ten meters of the try line), your positioning will be on the side closest to the try line at the front. The attacking lineout from within 10 meters is the highest scoring percentage play in rugby. The driving Maul is the most frequently play scored on. Positioning on the defending side will allow you to move into ingoal and have the players coming at you to see the possible try.
Vary your positioning to be about 70-80%, or more at the front.
When you move to the back, do not stand between the tunnels. When they close up, you can not see. Stand on the side throwing in, unless in the red zone, about two meters away from the line of touch, and get within a few meters of the last person. This will improve your ability to see any activity in the front of the line.

Open Play:
Keep your shoulders facing the try lines. Get into the Tackle/Ruck-Maul and get out and look at the defenders. SCAN the entire backline. SPACE is necessary for the game to have flow. ENSURE there is space.
If you end up on the side of the R/M, stay there, do not move back into the saddle. Move away after you have managed the R/M so the bangers will not run into you.
Keep yourself in the field of play, DO NOT get caught between a R/M and the touch line, If you have to be there to see what is happening, fine, but move back into the field of play ASAP.
Be aware of kicks down field and make note of the players who are in front of the kick, to keep them from advancement.
If you award a penalty, move to the middle of the field, not towards the touchlines.

Play at the try line (RED Zone):
Position yourself in ingoal to see the play coming at you to award the try.
WHISTLE IMMEDIATELY when the play goes to ground and you can not see if there is a score. DO NOT wait to have them unpile. Award the scrum to the attacking side. This is important for your management of the match.

Enter the tackle from a 45 degree position from the attacking side. Get in and get out, move yourself to a position two steps behind the last man’s foot and move away from the players to get a better view of play.
If you see a penalty infraction at the tackle, PENALIZE IT IMMEDIATELY. Do not play advantage or wait to blow it up.
The tackled player must make the ball available, and get up before playing the ball. No rolling over the ball to shield it. The tackler must move away IMMEDIATELY, no exceptions. If the ball carrier, or the tackler, gets to their feet, they may play the ball. All arriving players from either team must go through their gate.
If a defending player who puts the ball carrier on the ground, and DOES NOT GO TO GROUND, must release the ball carrier and get their BUNS TO THEIR POST BEFORE THEY CAN PLAY THE BALL if they are on the attacking side of the ball. IF a defending player who puts the ball carrier on the ground and is on the defending side of the ball, must still release the ball carrier to give them the opportunity to play the ball before they go back to make an attempt to gain possession.

Remember the phrase: One one thousand, Two one thousand, Three one thousand, Ball Penalty or Scrum. That is how fast it occurs. The ball carrier has to make the ball available, the tackler has to RELEASE the BALL CARRIER AND MOVE AWAY- IMMEDIATELY when on the ground, and the arriving players MUST ENDEAVOR to stay on their feet.
Remember, if there are no defenders there to have contact with, the arriving players may go to ground, due to no one there to hold them up.
Remember the basic definition of a RUCK, ONE player from each side with the ball on the ground between them. All other arriving players must come from the gate.
If the arriving players are unable to produce the ball due to poor skills or unable to stay on their feet at contact with an opponent, blow the pile up IMMEDIATELY, and award the scrum. IF they cannot produce the ball, and there were no infractions of Law, then they scrum.

Definition of a Maul, Ball carrier, defender, and another player from the ball carriers side is required.
Players must KEEP it up. If an arriving player knocks over the Maul, PENALIZE IT IMMEDIATELY. Players in the maul who raise their feet off the ground are attempting to collapse it, PENALIZE IT IMMEDIATELY.
The only person who can go to ground in a maul is the ball carrier, and the ball MUST BE PRODUCED IMMEDIATELY. IF the ball carrier attempts to go to ground, and does not bring the ball with him, then he is attempting to collapse the maul, PENALIZE.
All players who are not properly bound must release and retire to their offside line to re-enter from the gate. A bind consists of the whole arm, just not hanging on.

The most important thing on a rugby field. Create it by policing the offsides at tackles, rucks, mauls and open play. Scan OVER the Rucks and Mauls to ensure compliance of Law. At the Tackle to Ruck sequence, Get your shoulders facing NORTH SOUTH on the pitch, open your hips up, your shoulders will follow to get facing the right direction. SCAN
Ensure the penalized team gets to 10 meters. Allow the quick tap to take place and prevent the offending team from playing the quick tap by telling the defenders to LET THEM RUN if they are not 10. Watch for players who are onside coming to make the tackle. Play cannot start till a Penalty of Free kick mark is awarded.

WHISTLE, SIGNAL, SIGNAL, TALK is the correct sequence.
Touch/Dead Ball – Chirp, Knock-Ons – Blast
Penalties – Louder Blast
Trys/Scores – Very loud SUSTAINED Blast.
Use your down time at scrums, lineouts to do preventative refereeing. NO DEBATING
Primary and Secondary Signals – Crisp, Clear, Slow, and Visible

Match and Flow:
Establish authority EARLY, SET THE BAR
Apply the Laws Consistently.
Use appropriate PREVENTIVE and PUNITIVE measures to control the match. This can vary from match to match depending on the skill level of the players.