The second annual Referee Development Clinic introduced school children to the fast paced world of rugby union refereeing in a dynamic environment at St Ignatius College, Riverview, Sydney in early October.
Twelve state representative teams from around the country played in the tournament on the day, with 18 school-aged trainee referees in attendance.
Qualified referees officiated the games and their performance was reviewed and analysed throughout the day.
The Australian Rugby Union hosted the event with support from Super Rugby referee shirt sponsor TNT Express.
The boys were taken through the art of refereeing, from how to communicate effectively to making accurate and appropriate decisions on field.
Participants were split into groups, with children having hands-on duties during the games.
One group managed the substitutions and replacements, another watched the referee and took notes to learn about positioning and decision-making, and the third observed referees with audio receivers to understand how communications were handled with players.
A lunchbreak included a talk and informative Q&A session with Super Rugby referee Andrew Lees.
High school student Ryan McCarthy from Kupyer Christian School said the event had made him even more interested in rugby refereeing.
“The day was great,” he said. “It was good to get to know other refs in the area.
“I learnt a lot throughout the day. Being in a small group and going to different games and focusing on things like positioning, communication and substitutions was very helpful.
“It was great to look at the different referees and see their individual styles of refereeing. Everything about the day was good but in particular I think the visit by Andrew Lees was great.
“Being able to ask him questions and learn how he came to be where he is was very helpful in pursuing a career in refereeing.”
Ryan said the day had also confirmed his ambition to become a qualified referee.
“I would much rather referee then play,” he said. “I have discussed this for quite a while: I think if I play for one or two more years then stick with refereeing that will be great. Refereeing already comes first over playing.”