Rugby Ontario Match Official Appreciation

December 06, 2021


Rugby Ontario Match Official Appreciation 

December 6th, 2021

(WHITBY, ON) - Rugby Ontario is excited to announce this week is Match Official appreciation week. This week we salute the work and efforts of our Match Officiating community. The 2021 season was one like no other, with a late start, a rapid buildup, and a packed schedule. On the officiating side, there were unique challenges in returning from the COVID-19 hiatus.  With a limited lead up to the season, our officials needed to get back up to speed physically and mentally. 

Thanks to the fantastic response of our officials, the season was a success despite the hardships of the pandemic. Through the hard work of the Rugby Ontario Referee Committee (RORC), our regional appointers, our coach of match officials, match officials and club referees, almost all requested games were facilitated despite working with limited numbers. 

Our officials worked hard to get back to fitness and back into the refereeing mindset. They adapted quickly to the new World Rugby’s Global Law Trials introduced in August. They battled through injuries, and a very busy schedule, often taking on multiple matches a day. They covered over 600 appointments from August through November, many involving multiple fixtures in tournament settings. These appointments were filled by a dedicated group of Match Officials – starting with a core of around 30 in mid-August, up to 75 by the end of the season. These Match Officials were supported by 18 Club Referees who stepped in when an appointed Match Official was not available. Numbers were often tight, and it took a great deal of work by the entire officiating community to make sure games went ahead as planned. 

Everyone in the rugby community has disagreed with an officiating call at some point in their rugby experience. We can all agree despite these differences, that without an official, the game does not happen, and is not the same. Rugby Ontario encourages clubs, players, coaches – the whole community to join us in celebrating our officials! Join us in honouring our officiating community with #thanksref on social media. 

Rugby Ontario Referee Committee

December 7th, 2021

(WHITBY, ON) - The Rugby Ontario Referee Committee (RORC) provides representation, leadership, and officiating knowledge to Rugby Ontario. The Committee works closely with David Bushell, Rugby Ontario Match Official Coordinator, connecting multiple times a week during the season, as a group and with the regional appointers.  

Karen Lozada chairs the RORC, bringing her experience as an International Referee, World Rugby Citing Commissioner, Educator, and Coach of Match Officials. Brian Chapple is the Lead Appointer and a World Rugby Match Official Assessor. Brian works with our Coach of Match Officials and the RORC to grade and rank officials to be appointed appropriate levels of matches. He coordinates the appointments of our top officials to the highest level of matches.  James Andaloro is the Lead Coach of Match Officials. He coordinates the CMOs and works tirelessly with our officials of all levels to help them improve their game and reach their potential. Collectively, the RORC and regional appointers work diligently to manage all appointments for all levels across Ontario. 

“It was a whirlwind season for the RORC. We tried to slowly ramp up the referee group by having multiple training groups across the province, just before full contact rugby started up. Then as clubs started playing games a little sooner than expected, it was back to reality!” said Karen Lozada. "This year was challenging for a few reasons. A large number of Match Officials were unavailable to register for the shortened season. Also, a few dramatic law changes had been implemented while we were in the Return to Play process. We mostly wanted to focus on our new mantra of "Fun, Safe and Fair” added Karen.

While each RORC member has their respective areas of expertise, they work with each other, and our appointers however needed. These volunteers go above and beyond by putting in many hours each and every week to keep our officiating community running. Without their tireless efforts, the officiating community could not be sustained.

To be added to our 2022 Match Official Course participant waiting list, please email and more information will be shared as soon as it is available. 

Match Official Regional Societies & Appointers

December 8th, 2021

(WHITBY, ON) - The officiating community is split into 3 regional refereeing societies, from west to east: The Niagara Rugby Referee Society (NRRS), the Toronto & District Rugby Referee Society (TDRRS), and The Eastern Ontario Rugby Referee Society (EORRS). They are led by:  

Brian Bell (NRRS President) and Eric Ciezar (NRRS Appointer) 

Steve Gasparek (TDRRS President and Appointer) 

Mark Doyle (EORRS President) and Wanda Malone (EORRS Appointer) 

The local societies help organize and coordinate officials in their area, and do a tremendous amount of work in supporting their communities. 

As appointers, Wanda, Steve, and Eric deserve specific acknowledgement. They put in multiple hours weekly, working to fit in officials to appointments. This season they worked overtime with fewer officials, often stepping in to officiate games themselves or finding additional returning officials to register as Match Officials or Club Referees."The match appointers do a wonderful, and under-appreciated, job each year.  This year was particularly difficult and involved last minute changes to teams and venues.  A huge thank you to all of them for all their hard work" said Stuart Blower, a Rugby Ontario Match Official. 

"Every week, appointers are tasked with covering scheduled games with qualified referees, often with more games than available officials. Either during their workday or after, they reach out to everyone they know to try to get every game covered” said Brian Chapple, the Lead Appointer for the RORC."I have personally been on the phone or email with all them at all hours of the night while trying to help them get this done. They care so much, and it keeps them up at night when games don't get covered” added Brain. 

The appointing team is the backbone of the officiating community.  Rugby in Ontario would not be what it is without their support, time, and love for the game. Thank you!

To be added to our 2022 Match Official Course participant waiting list, please email and more information will be shared as soon as it is available.

Match Official Educators & Coach of Match Officials 

December 9th, 2021

(WHITBY, ON) - Our Match Officials all start their officiating careers with a Match Official course. These courses are run by a group of dedicated Match Official Educators who spend a day with new recruits teaching them the management of the game and helping them build their rugby knowledge. Often our Educators put in extra time as Coach of Match Officials (CMOs) beyond the course dates to support officials as they learn and grow, helping them to expand their confidence, knowledge, and officiating skills – from novice officials to those refereeing at the top of the sport. Just as players train, learn and refine their skills, our officials do so as well throughout their officiating career. There is always room to learn and grow. 

Our CMOs support our officials by helping them continue to develop and grow beyond their course experiences. Thank you for all your help in supporting our officials directly and indirectly – when working as a CMO or even just chatting briefly with an official you see out in the community.  

"The match official course was educational, hands on, and fun. Having the ongoing support and guidance of the Coach of Match Officials was great to have and really helped me grow as an official" said Jessica Petereit, a Newly Certified Match Official. "It is great to know that the Match Official community embodies all of the integrity, passion, solidarity, discipline, and respect that the players and coaches embody in the community."

Given the hectic schedule this fall and confluence of offseason preparation while simultaneously managing busy competition calendar, there were limited opportunities to run courses. However, Rugby Ontario is looking ahead to a robust course calendar in 2022, details of which will be shared with the wider rugby community as they are finalized in the near future.  

There is a great need for reinforcement of our Match Official community, and plenty of opportunities to officiate for anyone interested. We look forward to working with the community to expand our pool of appointed Match Officials and Club Referees who assist their club when an appointed official is not available. We encourage Member Clubs to promote officiating future courses in their community. To be added to our 2022 Match Official Course participant waiting list, please email and more information will be shared as soon as it is available. 

 Thank you to our Match Official Educators and Coach of Match Officials (CMOs) for your tremendous efforts in past, present, and future.

World Rugby Laws of the Game

December 10th, 2021

(WHITBY, ON) - Finalizing our week of appreciation for our Match Official community, we’d like to highlight the most important tool that informs our officials: World Rugby’s Laws of the Game. The Laws of the Game evolves regularly to adapt to the evolution of rugby and to continuously protect and enhance Player Welfare – a key pillar of rugby. 

Aspiring officials are required to learn the Laws of the Game and complete the World Rugby test prior to attending their Level 1 courses. Returning officials are also expected to repeat the Laws test annually to ensure that they continue to keep their knowledge current and up to date. 

Rugby is one of the most difficult sports to officiate. It is an incredibly intricate game with many areas to focus on simultaneously, without the regular stoppages that are seen in other contact sports. Our officials are constantly working mentally while moving around the field following the flow of the game. 

Today, we’re encouraging the community to explore, review and learn about The Laws of the Game. It is a great opportunity for coaches, players and parents to enhance their understanding of the game. Additionally, it’s a fantastic chance for anyone interested in officiating to begin their work on learning the laws and completing the Law Exam. 

 The Laws of the Game and the Law Exam can be found on the World Rugby website here:  


Rugby Ontario is the provincial sports governing body responsible for the organization of rugby in Ontario. Our mission is to establish a stronger identity for rugby in Ontario by promoting the sport’s core values and by fostering a culture of inclusiveness and excellence on and off the field of play.

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