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Semi-final & Final Referee Appointments Announced

Josh Bull

 Photo: Doug Cornes Photography

The referee appointments for the 2017 play-offs have been announced. Appointment officers Graham Bowen & Bill Heslop, along with the conveners of the respective panels, have met, discussed and now announced this year’s semi-finals and finals referees.

Play off games kick off on Saturday 22 July with Waikato’s Premiership & Premiership B, Championship & Championship B & the Division 2 Bottom 4 grades all playing Semi-finals. The U85kg grade have their Final on the 22 July, with the Division 1 final taking place on 15th July. The U21 Final will be played on Saturday 5th August.

Michael Winter has being appointed to his second Premiership Final on Saturday 29th July. Damian Botherway and Grant Stuart will take control of the semi-finals happening on the 22nd July at Marist Park and Fred Jones Park. Damian & Grant will be Michael’s Assistant Referees on the 29th, with the venue for the Premiership yet to be confirmed based on the weekends semi-final results.

Josh Bull will take the whistle for his Championship Final on Saturday 29th July. All eyes will be on the Championship Semi-Finals with both winners not only advancing to the big dance but also winning promotion into the 2018 Premier competition. Brendon Hamilton & Grant Cotterell will referee the Championship Semi-finals on Saturday 22nd July. Brendon & Grant will assist Josh the following weekend.

Both Michael & Josh have big post seasons coming up in the next couple months. Michael will be making his debut in New Zealand’s Mitre 10 Cup, while Josh will be heading to Taupo to officiate at the Jock Hobbs Memorial U19 Tournament in September. Both men have being putting in the hard yards throughout the season and these finals’ appointments are fitting rewards.


Remaining Semi-finals and finals appointments as per below:


Premiership B Semi-finals: Ben Woolerton & Aaron Paterson         

Premiership B Final: Aleni Feata

Championship B Semi-finals: Wayne Berry & Rupert Friend

Championship B Final: Kevin Holmes

Division 1 Final: Jake O’ Flaherty

Division 1B Final: Ben Woolerton

Under 21 Semi-finals: Larissa Collingwood & Rachael Phillips

Under 21 Final: Ollie Hawke

Division 2 Bottom 4 Final: Andrew Bowe

Division 2 Top 6 Semi-final: Thinus du Preez & Michael Robinson

Division 2 Top 6 Final: Dave Fryer

Under 85kg Final: Glenn Foote


Associate Referee Course - 2017

Ass Ref Course

Monday 15th May we hosted our first stand alone Associate Referee Course, previously in the past we have run Associate Referee Courses part of the Small Blacks Workshops. 

For our first course we had a good turnout with over 25 participants, mostly were there to educate themselves so they can referee junior rugby on a Saturday morning. We did have a few participants attend looking to get involved with becoming a rugby referee. They plan to do some Assistant Referee duties early this season before getting into the middle. 

Participants on the night covered laws of game; including applying advantage and getting the most out of that advantage. Some good in depth discussion was held around the tackle law, what players can and cant do at that phases of play. Basic hand signals to get them through a game, and the benefits of being clear with those hand signals. 

Moving forward in 2018, we will be hosting a number of Associate Referee Courses around the province.

If you are keen to be involved and want to do some active refereeing this year it is not too late. Contact our Referee Education Officer Michael Winter on 021 805 890 or email




SANIX World Rugby Youth Rugby Tournament, Fukuoka - Japan

Written by Michael Winter

This year I was fortunate enough to attend the 2017 SANIX World Rugby Youth Tournament in Fukuoka, Japan.


This was the 18th edition of the SANIX World Rugby Youth Tournament, played between 16 First XV teams across 6 days of rugby. Teams competing in a pool format with 3 pool games, followed by a quarterfinal, semifinal & finals for all teams.

Teams this year came from England, France, Korea, New Zealand, Chinese Taipei, Fiji, Russia & South Africa, with a further 8 teams from around Japan competing. With two international teams alongside two Japanese teams in each pool, it made for close games throughout the tournament. All teams were based on sight at the Global Arena comple with an international team in the same building as a Japanese team. 

Throughout my 5 referee appointments I got to experience refereeing teams from France, England, South Africa & the Fijians. All of which were great experiences and all of which play a very different style of rugby to what our First XV teams play. French were very typical French, very passionate and played with flare and were a very well structured side. Fijians were the total opposite, very unstructured, threw the ball around a lot and scored some very good long range tries. South Africa were a young side with an amazing first five kicker, funnily enough. He timed the ball very well and had a good eye for field position. 

I was very impressed with the standard of the 8 Japanese sides. They play with some fantastic structure and generally pretty accurate with their game plan. Unfortunately for them, they can lack some size compared to some overseas teams.

Alongside myself, Australia, England & South Africa all sent over one referee. We lived in the same apartment for our time there, some good banter was had but some great rugby chat was also had with some good learnings.

The Japanese are amazing hosts. We were treated to a number of functions as special guests and feed a combination of traditional Japanese meals, along with more westernised foods.

This was an amazing experience for myself and am very grateful for being selected by NZR to have this opportunity.




Waikato Rugby Referees have 2017 Kit Confirmed

Referee Polo

The WRRA Management Committee has recently meet and has confirmed the 2017 Referee Uniform.

These items will be available to purchase for our members who are paid up 2017 season members with their local Sub-Association. 

Please refer to the attached document for clothing items and prices. 

These items will be available to order at the upcoming WRRA AGM on Wednesday 15th March at FMG Stadium Waikato. Referees will not be able to go to Kukri and place individual orders as one large bulk order will be completed for 2017. 



Click here to view the 2017 clothing list


 Waikato Referees Selected for 2017 New Zealand Referee Squads

Winter Bull Ref2New Zealand Rugby’s High Performance Referee Manager Rod Hill this week released the New Zealand Referee squads for 2017.

In 2017 Waikato will be represented by 3 of our referees, the strongest representation by Waikato and our local RRA’s for a considerable time. Michael Winter has been promoted from the Development Squad into the National Squad, Aaron Paterson retains his position in the Television Match Official Panel and Josh Bull gets a much deserved appointment into the Wider Training Group.

Winter had a very successful 2016 club season and was duly appointed to referee the Waikato Breweries Shield final between Melville and Hamilton Old Boys. He then went onto referee seven Mitre 10 Heartland fixtures including a semi and the final of the Lochore Cup between King Country & North Otago.

After showing great accuracy and consistency throughout Super Rugby early in 2016 and throughout the Mitre 10 Cup, Aaron Paterson is appointed once again into New Zealand’s TMO Panel. Aaron was appointed to TMO the Premiership Final between Canterbury & Tasman in the 2016 Mitre 10 Cup.

2017 will be Josh Bull’s first season as a member of the Wider Training Group. It is great reward after the dedication and commitment shown by Bull over the last couple of season in Waikato’s club rugby competition. Josh will attend referee camps hosted by NZR and receive additional coaching and support from a NZR Referee Coach while still working alongside his Waikato referee coach, Josh will also attend the Jock Hobbs Memorial U19 Tournament in Taupo in September 2017.

Waikato Rugby’s Operations Manager Bill Heslop says “this reward reflects the value of the newly formed Elite Training Group. This doesn’t come about come about by fluke, as it is a credit to these three guys and the RRA for the time and effort they put into their work ethic”.

It is great to see Waikato Referees so well represented in New Zealand squads. It shows the hard work been done locally is paying off and shows other referees in the region that there is a pathway within refereeing moving forward.