Super Rugby - What you should expect to see.

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BRYCE LAWRENCE FOR ON THE MARK     03 Mar 2017     Getty Images

During December and January the NZ Super Rugby referees have been hard at work training and preparing for the 2017 competition and this has included;

• Preparing and finalising their 2017 Individual Performance Plans
• Preparing and finalising their support team for 2017
• Training the house down – they are in great shape and have put in huge hours on the road, the gym and the park
• Attended a 5 day Sanzaar refs workshop in Sydney
• Attended NZ SR team environments presenting the 2017 key focus areas
• Refereed pre season SR games
• Refereed at the Downer 10’s in Brisbane
• A weekend workshop in Mount Maunganui for refs, AR’s and TMO’s which featured classroom work, role plays, a ½ marathon and rowing an Olympic 8.

So when you are watching on TV, what should you expect to see from the referees?

1. A real focus on managing space and offsides
2. Scrums which may have front rows pre engaged before ball is set but as long as they are happy and there is no leaning then referees will play on and “set” the scrum
3. A new TMO process where the referee makes the ‘on field decision’ first before going upstairs – ie: “I have a try unless you can confirm otherwise” or “I have a grounding and a try – can you just check touch near corner for me”.
4. Stronger on field sanctions for high tackles
5. Stronger on field decision making for cynically collapsed mauls near try line
6. Referees setting the boundaries for players to operate early in match
7. AR’s assisting the referees in all areas of the game and especially at high work rate areas like offsides and lineout to maul
8. Referees contributing to a fast paced, open, entertaining game.

Best wishes to Ben, Glen, Jamie, Paul, Nick, Brendon and Mike. NZ referees across the country support you and look forward to watching your performances.