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Referee Coaching and Evaluation

Montana Rugby Referees use coaching and evaluation to do most of the day to day work of referee development. Both of these methods are conducted on the field during matches. Both use the framework developed by USA Rugby.


Coaching is a prospective method that uses goals established by the referee. The referee coach observes and helps draw out possible pathways forward. MRRS assigns referee coaches to matches where either the referee or the referee development committee has requested further development help.

If you are at a game where there is a referee coach on the sidelines, feel free to talk with them before or after the match. Referee coaches may introduce themselves and ask about the teams. During the match, they may not engage with spectators or coaches as they are watching the referee.


Evaluation looks at how a referee is performing against objective criteria. It is exceptionally detailed with evaluation reports running as many as 10 pages. In Montana, evaluation of matches only takes place at the higher level matches.

If you are at a game where the referee is being evaluated, it is not uncommon for the evaluator to be completely anonymous. They may be talking into recorders or writing notes, but will not interact with people on the sidelines. Don't worry! They're not being arrogant - they're just concentrating. If you are interested, feel free to talk to them about the process after the match is over and they've completed the evaluation.

Advantage System

USA Rugby referee coaching and evaluation is transitioning to the new Advantage System. This application allows for more comprehensive review of the performance of a referee during a match using video of the match, self-reflection, and coaching input.