ORRA HOMEOtago Rugby Referees Association provides training and development with the aim of producing referees of the highest caliber. We offer multi-leveled training on the field and off the field. We hold regular discussion nights, online learning and video training to coach and support our trainee referees, throughout Dunedin, Central and South Otago.
If you love rugby and would like to give back and enjoy first class training then we need to speak to you.
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LOOKING FOR LAWS OF THE GAME?
2023 COMMUNITY RUGBY GAME INNOVATIONS
As you’ll all know this season has some changes for our community game.
The 2023 Game Innovations were designed by New Zealand Rugby to make the game safer and create better game flow and continuity.
These laws and applications have been and are covered at our Rugby Smarts for Coaches and Referees.
If you’d like to have more in-depth discussions about these changes, pop along to one of our Rugby Smarts or Referee Training & Development nights!
REFEREE PROFILE: JOHN TIMU
This week’s Referee profile is none other than, Former All Black and Otago great, John Timu. When not Refereeing JT works as a builder and is a great supporter of grassroots rugby.
How long did you play rugby for? Unfortunately… still have the odd run around.
What made you come to refereeing? Coaching & refereeing our kids. A shame ably… I was always a bit of a pr*ck to referees. In my later years after coaching kids & refereeing myself, I’ve come to admire & respect the unenvious job of the many tāne & wāhine that referee.
What have you enjoyed the most about refereeing? Giving back & keeping a foot in the rugby fraternity…. witnessing good competitive spirit amongst individuals & teams.
What's your greatest refereeing moment to date? Arsing up
What do you want to get out of refereeing for the future? Just continue to see boys & girls applying themselves, digging in & enjoying a hard, physical, competitive encounter
What would be your advice to someone who's thinking of taking up the whistle? Very rewarding… so get on in there!!
REFEREE PROFILE: FRASER REID
This week’s Ref profile is a young man that has returned home twice to Otago. After being born in NZ Fraser and his family moved to Perth where he started refereeing. Came back to Otago for study then left for Wellington post-study. In 2023 we’re stoked to have Fraser back among our ranks!
How long did you play rugby for? Played for 12 years.
What made you come to refereeing? I sort of fell into it. My high school Rugby Coordinator asked me to do it when I was in year 10 for a tour match as they needed a ref. That was 2013, loved it and haven't looked back since.
What have you enjoyed the most about refereeing? I get the same enjoyment out of it as I did when playing, just without the injuries. Knowing I've done a good job refereeing a game brings me a sense of success.
What's your greatest refereeing moment to date? I've loved the whole journey, it's hard to pick one.
What do you want to get out of refereeing for the future? Just want to stay involved in the game and be the best referee/person I can. And maybe get some Otago merch while I'm at it...
What would be your advice to someone who's thinking of taking up the whistle? There's no harm in trying. A lot of people think they're doing it on your own, but you're not. ORRA are a fantastic organisation who will make you feel included and supported.
REFEREE PROFILE: CALEB NEILSON
This week’s ref profile is a familiar face to Otago. Caleb Neilson has returned to Otago after spending a year up in Buller managing a farm. Caleb now resides in South Otago and regularly attends both metro and south meetings, providing a wealth of experience. Great to have you back Rowdy!
How long did you play rugby for? Played rugby: started at age 5 finished at 16 (11 yrs)
What made you come to refereeing? When stopped playing I wanted to keep in the game some how, helped coach an under 11 team and refereed home games and really enjoyed it. Jeff Grubb helped me to get in touch with ORRA.
What have you enjoyed the most about refereeing? Meeting and socialising with a lot of good people as well as referees, players and coaches. In terms of the game itself being involved and contributing to the community.
What's your greatest refereeing moment to date? 2019 being selected to officiate at Top 4 schools NZ, 2020 refereeing the club final in Otago metro and 2022 refereeing the club final in Buller.
What do you want to get out of refereeing for the future? To challenge myself to be in contention for selection for the next level and to help others that are starting out.
What would be your advice to someone who's thinking of taking up the whistle? Have a go you may just enjoy it! Give back to the game.
Thanks Caleb, for helping our game!
OUR Game, OUR Referees.
REFEREE PROFILE: JACK MCLAUGHLAN
This week’s Referee profile is a young man that has taken to refereeing like a duck to water. Jack comes from a great rugby family with his grandfather, Kevin, refereeing test matches for ORRA.
How long did you play rugby for? I played rugby for 10 years from U8’s to 2nd XV at high school. While I absolutely loved playing the game and this love only strengthened through the years, I put rugby aside to focus on rowing for my senior season at school. This paid off and kept me away from rugby for another five years after this until I came back into the fold through joining ORRA.
What made you come to refereeing? After taking time away from rugby, major injury occurred twice which meant contact sport wasn’t going to be great for my body. However, with refereeing already being in the family with my late Grandfather having a significant role in the association, it was an easy decision to keep involved in rugby through joining ORRA.
What have you enjoyed the most about refereeing? Club rugby is a great spectacle to be apart of and being able to take that in, whether as the referee or as an assistant referee, it is repeatedly an awesome thing to be apart of. Off the field the ORRA and wider rugby community across NZ have created friendships and connections that will last a lifetime and it doesn’t get any better than that.
What's your greatest refereeing moment to date? Being appointed to the Junior Colts Semi final last year would have to top things to date. I was fortunate enough to have a 2:45pm kickoff that day with two Dunedin Colts sides playing each other at home. With all other Dunedin senior teams having played earlier in the day we had packed sidelines. This was just an added bonus to the high quality rugby played that day. It was an awesome occasion to be involved in and be able to give back to the game while being in the best seat in the house made it even better.
What do you want to get out of refereeing for the future? Definitely can’t deny taking a step towards higher honours would be a goal of mine, in the form of Premier rugby or First Class fixtures. Hopefully by just following my process and taking my opportunities, in whatever form, I will continue to be involved and be able to give back to the game at whatever level.
What would be your advice to someone who's thinking of taking up the whistle? It’s never easy at first finding your feet at what ever grade you start at. Don’t be too critical of yourself in the early stages and just enjoy being apart of the awesome rugby community. The support on and off the field from players, coaches and the referee’s group is unreal and makes it all worthwhile.
REFEREE PROFILE: GEN FUKUHARA
How long did you play rugby for? I started playing when I was 12 and had played for 4 years until the first year of high school. Unfortunately, injuries have prevented me from playing.
What made you come to refereeing? Even after stopping playing rugby, I still loved the game of Rugby. I always wanted to get involved in the game in some way and convert my passion of rugby into something, and gave refereeing a try.
What have you enjoyed the most about refereeing? I truly love being on the field and running around with the players with a whistle, since it often allows you to see some great plays and tries from the best view! In addition to that, the camaraderie within the refereeing group is absolutely wonderful; I have learned a lot from the other referees, and they are all eager to teach you. The people in here are one of the best ones that I have ever met, and I am truly grateful for the environment that ORRA has provided to me.
What's your greatest refereeing moment to date? ARing a Championship Colts match in Forsyth Barr Stadium back in this April was such an unreal experience. Moreover, refereeing an interschool rugby match between Timaru Boys High School and Otago Boys High School was a great moment as well. Lastly, a water carrier opportunity for the Super Rugby match was another special experience, being able to see the glimpse of how professional referees are like.
What do you want to get out of refereeing for the future? As a first year referee, I would like to develop my refereeing skills as quickly as possible. Ultimately, I would like to become a better version of myself throughout refereeing.
What would be your advice to someone who's thinking of taking up the whistle?Definitely give it a go! It may sound like a cliché, but refereeing gives you the best seat in the game. Being able to witness some spectacular tries is quite special if you love the game of rugby like myself. The amount of support that ORRA gives to you is incredible, and being able to share your passion of rugby with great group of people is quite joyful. You may be able to have another great lifelong passion!
REFEREE PROFILE: ELISABETH HUTTON NEILL
This week’s Referee profile is a bright young lady with a great future. Elisabeth is currently a student at Otago girls High school and while not refereeing is a promising Cricketer too.
How long did you play rugby for? I've played rugby for 7 years and taking a year off due to injury
What made you come to refereeing? Enjoying being a part of rugby and wanting to contribute back to the community
What have you enjoyed the most about refereeing? What I've enjoyed most about refereeing is being able to help keep rugby going in Dunedin even if it is refereeing one game a week.
What's your greatest refereeing moment to date? My greatest refereeing moment to date would be being able to be on the sidelines of an international all blacks game
What do you want to get out of refereeing for the future? What I want to get out of refereeing in the future would be to grow as a referee and hopefully reach the stage where I can get to referee provincial, national or even international rugby games.
What would be your advice to someone who's thinking of taking up the whistle? My advice would be: do it ! When you decide to referee always be confident in yourself and your calls, don't let the players or sideline get to you, enjoy the game and have fun you won't regret it.
REFEREE PROFILE: TREY MCLEAN
This week’s Referee profile of the week is a young man that started out refereeing in Otago and spent a year away in Canterbury last year. Thankfully Trey has seen the light and has returned to the land of the Golden O to bolster our stocks in South Otago.
How long did you play rugby for? Played junior years at Kaikorai rugby club, then played u14-u15 for Kings high school.
What made you come to refereeing? Injuries, seeing the people involved in refereeing looked like a good bunch of people thought I would give it a go.
What have you enjoyed the most about refereeing? Meeting all the people across multiple regions (Otago, South Otago and Canterbury) and seeing what different skills different teams have and show.
What's your greatest refereeing moment to date? 2022 colts A final referee in Christchurch.
What do you want to get out of refereeing for the future? See more different regions of footy. Different parts of the world is a real possibility.
What would be your advice to someone who's thinking of taking up the whistle? If you’re thinking about it just do it and see how it goes, if it’s not for you then at least you’ve tried. If you enjoy it then carry on.
REFEREE PROFILE: KAHURANGI DELAMERE
This week’s ref profile of the week is a young Wāhine that has joined refereeing to learn more about the game and has found a new passion in doing so.
Kahurangi is a great example of someone managing playing, coaching and refereeing. She adds so much to our group and we love having her a part of our special community.
How long have you played rugby for? I have been playing rugby since a young child, always just as a passion and hobby. Only within these recent years 2022/2023 have I started getting more serious, and learning intently about the game and its rules.
What made you come to refereeing? Wanting to learn more about rugby as a player. And I'm always that one person who will take something up and try new things that pique my interest. It also looked like a great opportunity to meet some great people, be a part of another amazing community, and support the sport we love.
What have you enjoyed the most about refereeing? The community for sure, everyone that I have met so far is helpful, kind, uplifting, supportive and there's always someone who's keen to help you out. But I do also love seeing the JAB kids' faces while they play rugby, the passion and fire they all have, especially our female junior All Blacks.
What's your greatest refereeing moment to date? So far they are all equally as great. My favourite moments so far have been the support and cheer from the sidelines, I really do appreciate their thanks afterwards. With every one I am always learning something new and working on strengthening a different area in how I ref. I am still very much fresh but growing with every game and enjoying the process.
What do you want to get out of refereeing for the future? I would love to have the opportunity to be a ref or an AR at a National Women's game in the future. One of the main goals at the moment is refereeing more games as a female in the hopes of getting more female referees.
What would be your advice to someone who's thinking of taking up the whistle? Great community, great chat, a lot of awesome experiences. It's blimin nerve wrecking for sure, but every new thing you decide to take up will be. It's by practice and experience that you become better at something.
Tūwhitia te hopo, mairangatia te angitū!! - Feel the fear, and do it anyway!!
Thanks Kahurangi, for helping our game!
REFEREE PROFILE: ANDY CLARKSON
How long did you play rugby for? I played rugby from U8's at Pirates and then from U14 to U16 at Kings.
What made you come to refereeing? A mixture of injuries and wanting to try something new. I started in 2015 while I was still playing and after juggling both playing and refereeing for a couple of years I decided to make the switch to refereeing full and haven't looked back.
What have you enjoyed the most about refereeing? Getting around the awesome group of people that we have has definitely been the most enjoyable part of refereeing. Our weekly Monday night meetings and trainings beforehand offer a really great way to interact with and get to know a bunch of new people.
What's your greatest refereeing moment to date? Refereeing a championship colts game in the stadium was definitely a highlight, as well as being selected to go to Canterbury on interchange. Being an assistant referee in a championship colts semi final with two of my best mates was also a highlight
What do you want to get out of refereeing for the future? Being involved in finals footy at club level is always a goal. Long term I'd love to have the opportunity to break in to the side-line management side of things at FPC and NPC levels in the future.
What would be your advice to someone who's thinking of taking up the whistle? Definitely get in contact with Brandon and get involved. ORRA has an amazing group of people who are there to support you in your refereeing journey. Come along to a Monday night meeting and meet our awesome crew of men and women who make refereeing a pleasure. The most important thing is to go out there and have a bit of fun!
REFEREE PROFILE: DAVE O'NEILL
How long did you play rugby for? From age 9 to 30
What made you come to refereeing? I felt like I wanted to give back to the game I love.
What have you enjoyed the most about refereeing? Watching kids from age 9 grow to become eventually prem players. Its been a privilege.
What's your greatest refereeing moment to date? Watching younger referees develop.
What do you want to get out of refereeing for the future? Hope my body stays together so I can carry on refereeing
What would be your advice to someone who's thinking of taking up the whistle? Just do it, its really rewarding and you get to meet a lot of great people in the big rugby family.
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