With the New Zealand Super Rugby teams kicking off this week you may have had the urge to get more involved in the game (as a referee). Maybe it’s just a small seed idea planted in the back of your head to worry about for another day (hopefully today! Or maybe even tomorrow…). However, to fertilise and water that mere seed of an idea I’m going to tell you kind of where to find the things that you need to know about becoming a referee and getting started.
First off, where is my refereeing Wally? Who do I go to if I want to become a referee in The Waikato, The Naki and beyond (NZ mainly but there are go to sites and people throughout the world that will help you get started). It is honestly as easy as googling it. I googled ‘How to become a rugby referee NZ’ in the toolbar and a whole bunch of rugby unions and their referee websites popped up. It really depends where you are to what site you click on, for obvious reasons, but the main idea is that each province/place has a website that you can go to if you want to become a referee or even just to learn more. Most of the rugby unions even have Facebook these days, which means becoming a referee is only a message away, so get your stalking goggles on and go have a nosy. And for all of you who only have a wind up phone or even a smart phone one of the best resources is the ‘I want to be a referee’ hotline, which is 0800 REFEREE (0800 7333733), this puts you in contact with the closest Wally to you, who can help you become a referee in their province.
For those of you who are in rugby or have mates in rugby, who is number 31 on the field? This is most likely the referee (unless someone is seriously lost) and he/she knows that finding new referees is super hard so they are one of your best resources for finding a specific person to deal with to begin. Referee’s also love talking about themselves but they also talk up being a referee just as much, which is saying something in itself. We just love the sport we officiate and we really want everyone else to have the opportunity to be a part of it too. So there’s a someone you can go to if your internet is still on dial up and you ran out of data like last week while tagging your mates in competitions you know you seriously won’t win.
Signing up to become a rugby referee, for anyone at all, also requires you to register with New Zealand or your country. This acknowledges where you hail from as a referee each year, and ensures your contact details are honky dory. It also gives you your own number too, so you know you’re not the only one starting this journey into the unknown. I know paper work isn’t fun but it’s a small price to pay to ensure teams have an official to start their match off every weekend and is one of the first steps to getting a whistle and your boots on for your first game.
The main thing to realise is that if you put out your tentacles to reach out, someone will grab you and pull you aboard. Referees are scavengers for fresh meat for the fact that a lot of our current meat is just not enough to feed several teams of hungry players each week. The thing is, referee’s for rugby are very hard to come by, there is a huge stigma around it and a lot of people don’t want to become a referee for the fear of negative comments and sideline behaviour, however along the way I hope that I can show you that this refereeing gig is a really rewarding and mostly positive experience.
In the end we are all lost when we are trying to find something out and calling someone is pretty much the best way to find anything out, so give us a holla today, or even tomorrow (anytime really!) and your Wally will set you up to start. And if you are somewhere else in the world get your google on!