When Boris Jurlina was asked to stand up in front of everyone at the National Camp, he couldn’t work out what he’d done wrong. The coaches had just announced that a member of the development squad had been sent home for not fulfilling his obligations, and Boris thought he was next.
“My heart was running pretty fast. I thought they were going to send me home too!”
For the past year, Boris has been working towards a spot on the NZ Development squad for rugby referees, refereeing the under 19 division, but he had no idea he would be selected so soon. The news is sinking in now and he’s looking forward to an exciting year ahead.
NZ Rugby Refereeing Development Squad
The New Zealand Development Squad is made up of a select group of promising referees, and just 8 are chosen from the whole of the country each year. For referees who are serious, this is a big deal as it opens up a wealth of new experiences and opportunities.
As well as continuing to referee their regular local games, the members of the squad are involved in refereeing the Heartland Championship games, which is the next stepping stone up to refereeing at the highest level. This involves a lot of extra travel, but its well worth the effort. Referees are always looking to improve their performance – there’s no room for complacency in rugby refereeing!
The development squad gives referees the opportunity to develop their decision making under the intense pressure of a match. They referee around 5 Heartland Championship games a year and the whole squad meets twice a year where expectations are set. Of course, there is regular contact between the squad members and their mentors, with continuing advice and support.
“You’re watched on and off the field, it’s a bit like being put under a microscope,” Boris said. “It really makes you work harder,”
Boris is enthusiastic about refereeing Heartland Championship games, and is looking forward to getting out to the provinces – some of them pretty far flung – where he can really hone his refereeing skills and see some great rugby being played. “You get out to the smaller places and get to see a different cut of player. They guys all feel that it’s a privilege to represent his province.”
Video Analysis of refereeing performance
With the guidance and support of more experienced referees, members of the squad are encouraged to analyse their performance. For premier level and above, every rugby referee is required to report on their performance. This process involves working out an individual game plan where the referee identifies what he or she wants to improve upon. After each match, they sit down and review their performance, writing up a report on how well their plan went. Watching yourself refereeing adds a whole other level to the process and is a great learning tool, as you can see immediately whether you are meeting your own targets.
Come and join us!
Boris wants people to understand that there is a career path out there, if you want it. Referees from Northland get to travel all over the country and When you love the game, refereeing can be so rewarding and it’s well worth getting involved.
“If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, there is a career path there.” Boris says.
If you’d like to get involved in rugby refereeing, check out our becoming a referee page for more information, or contact us today! We’re happy to answer any questions.