Referee Tags


Maurice Butler - UAE Referee

We have a Choosday Chat with UAE Referee, Maurice Butler.


Age: 36
Born: County Meath, Ireland
Referee Level: UAE Premiership

“I’d like to see what it’s like to prance about in referee kit from Baby GAP”

What do you get up to in your spare time?

Spending time with the family. I have two boys aged 2 1/2 and 1 so that’s most of my time in the pool or back garden!!

Do you have any phobias?

Bad pints of Guinness.

Who’d you like to be stuck in a lift with?

MacGyver (US TV Series), as he would know and show me what to do.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

Telepathy, I’d love to be able to read the kids minds as they fascinate me all the time. It would also come in handy to know what the front row are thinking too.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

My wife makes a mean cookie!! And I’m prone to a bit of chocolate and ice-cream.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I would like to think I am a DIY and gardening expert. I laid the patio slabs in my back yard in Dubai.

Who or what inspired you to pick up the whistle?

After giving up playing, I was missing the game so decided to give it a try when I was living in Ireland.

Out of all the refs, who has the worst dress sense?

I think it has to be any South African. Tony Duminy comes to mind or Jaco on the golf course.

What’s the toughest thing about reffing?

Staying focused as it can be mentally challenging.

If you could be one of the other UAE Refs, who would you be and why?

Probably Eugene Deegan to see what it’s like to prance about in referee kit from baby gap!!

Do you have any advice for people looking to get into referring?

Give it a go as it’s the best seat in the house. And you can meet an amazing team of referees in the UAE and globally from events like the Dubai Rugby Sevens.

What was the last takeaway you ordered?

A Thai from The Noodle box in Motor city.

What industry do you work in?

I work for Saab in the surveillance industry.

How’s life in Dubai?

Well, my wife and I moved here for a two – three years… that was seven years ago! And we now have two kids who were both born here in the UAE. So it’s a lot better than expected. We love the quality of life in Dubai!!

Simon Dodd - UAE Rugby referee

We have a Choosday Chat with UAE Referee, Simon Dodd.


Age: 40
Born: Rinteln, Germany
Referee Level: Premiership

“I try and stay away from them”

What do you get up to in your spare time?

I’m a full time teacher with a family…not sure what this ‘spare time’ is?

Do you have any phobias?

Rucks mainly, I try and stay away from them.

Who’d you like to be stuck in a lift with?

A lift engineer, if one is not available then Donald Trump. What a conversationalist!

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

Flying, have you seen the price of plane tickets these days?

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Eating an entire tub of ice cream and then blaming it on the children.

Do you have any hidden talents?

Refereeing – it’s a very hidden talent.

Who or what inspired you to pick up the whistle?

My Dad, an injury and Spreaders (Tony Spreadbury) in South West England. Best seat in the house.

Out of all the refs, who has the worst dress sense?

Well it has to be Hermann – we’re in the new century!!

What’s the toughest thing about reffing?

Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork in triplicate.

If you could be one of the other UAE Refs, who would you be and why?

A combination of James and Niell, they are both young and fit – just like me.

What was the last takeaway you ordered?

It was an Indian – I can’t resist an Onion Bhaji or four.

What industry do you work in?

I work education, I’m Chemistry Teacher.

Hows life in the UAE?

I live in Al Ain which is great for the family. The Ramblers (Al Ain Amblers RFC) provide a really good set up with pool, bar and of course the rugby. Both kids are settled and enjoy lots of activities, particularly eating ice cream in the plethora of malls!


Jaco de Wit - UAE Rugby Referee

Referee Jaco de Wit talks Sushi, Golf and the Big C with us.


Age: 27
Born: Prince Albert, South Africa
Level: World Rugby Level 3

“Keeping up with play and his holiday diet… now that’s impressive!”

How’s life in Dubai?

Life is busy, but Dubai is such a great place and full of opportunities.

What’s the best thing about being a UAE referee?

The best thing is being part of improving UAE rugby as a whole and the Dubai 7s is always a special occasion for me.

Do you have any phobias?

Apparently nomophobia (being without my mobile).

What do you get up to in your spare time?

I love playing golf and playing on Fifa.

Who’d you like to be stuck in a lift with?

Any international prop… let’s talk scrum time!!

Do you have any nicknames?

Yeah, I get Jakes a lot.

What’s your favourite type of food?

Bring me Salmon Sashimi… I could have Sushi everyday.

If you could be one of the other UAERF referees, who would it be and why?

Norman Drake, keeping up with play and his holiday diet… now that’s impressive!

What would you like to achieve outside of rugby?

I’d like to be successful in whatever I do and along the way hopefully inspire people to be the best that they can be.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I’m not too bad at hitting little white balls with an iron stick.

What was the last brunch you went on?

Caramel’s Saturday Brunch. Good wine and the food was not too bad!

What do you miss most about South Africa?

I really miss the farm that I grew up on and Karoo lamb chops.

Do you have any tattoos?

Not yet!

Who would be your three dream dinner guests?

Tiger Woods, he can tell me all about comebacks. Cristiano Ronaldo, he can share his knowledge of hard work and Jessica Alba, because you have to have some beauty at the table.

Cheers, Jaco. Jaco de Wit is a cancer survivor which unfortunately ended his playing days.

“I obviously had a love for rugby and picking up the whistle was the perfect way of being part of this amazing sport”.

Jaco is one of the UAE Rugby Referees and earlier this year he represented the UAE on the global stage at the Singapore 7s! If you would like to become a UAE rugby ref, then click the button below.

Tony Duminy UAE rugby referee

UAE Referee Tony Duminy talks nicknames, braais and condensed milk


Age: 37
Born: Uitenhage, South Africa
Level: World Rugby Level 3, Asia Rugby B-Panel & #1 on UAE Premiership Panel.

“I quickly apologised and changed it to a yellow card”

Do you have any nicknames?

I’ve obtained quite a few over the years. You can always tell where someone knows me from simply by which nickname they’re using: TD, TonyD, Smiley, T-Dog, T-Bone and Pastor.

What are your bugbears?

I dislike rude people (and idiots!).

What do you get up to in your spare time?

Mostly I get up to entertaining my daughter, but I enjoy playing golf, fishing and cooking up a good braai! (YR: For those not in the know, braai or braaivleis is South African for a picnic or barbecue where meat is grilled over an open fire)

Tony Duminy

What’s been the funniest thing you’ve seen or heard on a rugby pitch?

It’s a long list really, but it ranges from players’ expressions when they’ve been stitched up by a team-mate when they’ve been given a hospital pass to the wry smile they give me when they realise they’ve been caught out “bending the laws”, but last year… a premiership fly half made his way to the line out where he wanted to query/complain to the ref (who he knew rather well). This started to create a scene, so the ref simply asked him “are you here to lift?” It broke the ice, everyone laughed and they got on with the game. (YR: Brilliant!)

Whats been your most embarrassing moment during a game?

Once I mistakenly pulled out the red card for repeated infringements, not understanding why the player was so distraught, until the opposition captain said “Reds a bit harsh Mr Ref”. Realising my mistake, I quickly apologised and changed it to a yellow card.

If you could be one of the other UAE Refs, who would it be?

Norman Drake, He’s forever on holiday!

What would you like to achieve outside of refereeing rugby matches?

I’d like to be a good husband and father.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Condense Milk or Caramel Treat. (YR: No strawberries???)

Do you have any hidden talents?

I used to play the guitar pretty well.

What do you miss most about South Africa?

Phuza Thursday, College (schoolboy) rugby derby days, the post match fines and meetings at Buffs and Old Selbonians.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

Teleportation, I spend so much time driving at the moment that it would make life a lot easier if I could just click my fingers and be where I needed to be in an instant, instead of just being stuck in the Dubai traffic.

Who has the worst Dress sense out of the refs?

Oh I’d be the last one to judge on that!

Who do you like to listen to, to get you ready for a big match?

Most commonly Coldplay and Tiësto but I like to change it up a lot.

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Jaco de Wit UAE rugby referee Singapore 7s 2018

A Familiar Face Prowling The Touchlines In The Singapore Sevens – Jaco de Wit

Sharp eyed UAE Rugby fans tuning in to the Singapore 7s over the weekend may have noticed a familiar face prowling the touchlines of the National Stadium.

UAERF official Jaco de Wit has been making his debut as an Assistant Referee on the World 7s circuit and dropped us a line to share his experiences of the tournament.

“Officiating the Singapore 7s is a lot faster compared to the local game, you don’t get time to switch off. It should help me in future to make instant decisions more accurately but also I’ve learned that staying calm when making big decisions is just as important as (any big decision) has to be clear and obvious.”

Jaco moved over to the UAE last summer from his native South Africa and has been refereeing for nearly a decade. He grew up in the town of Prince Albert in the Western Cape and was already refereeing seriously by his late teens. For anyone thinking that a career of an international referee might be for them Jaco stresses the importance of collaboration and enjoyment.

Jaco pictured second from right here at Singapore 7s 2018

Jaco pictured second from right here at Singapore 7s 2018

“Always listen to advice. Be open to new ideas. Get a good support system that you can trust. Most importantly, you must enjoy the whole process.”

Congratulations Jaco for representing UAE Rugby referees on the global stage!

uae rugby red yellow card penalty


UAE Release Penalty Statistics

UAE Rugby have today released the penalty statistics for Yellow and Red cards issued to date, this 2016 / 2017 season.

There have been 116 Yellow cards and 16 Red cards issued, compared to the 2015/2016 totals of 186 and 19 (respectively).

Cards have been issued across all competitions in the Emirates 2016/2017 fixtures, and with 96 games remaining before the close of the season, the UAERF is concerned with the escalation.

Qais Al Dhalai, UAE Rugby’s Secretary General commented:

“In the very first weekend of games in the UAERF / Asia Rugby West Leagues we saw 22 yellow and 6 red cards issued and this was only in the Premiership and Conference”.

“Our board has taken the decision to be transparent and share these very concerning statistics to help Clubs; their Executive Committee, coach, and their players take ownership and address this unacceptable upward trend.” added Al Dhalai.

uae rugby referees

New Tougher Approach Now In Effect

World Rugby’s new tackle law came into effect on Tuesday January 3rd, 2017, following which there has been a heightened interest in what effect the initiative would have on the pitch, and the UAERF is committed to being proactive in enforcing this directive.

The UAERF, alongside both the UAE Rugby Referees (UAERR) and the Judicial Officers are working closer together to identify and recommend what rugby clubs can do to effectively implement change and improve. In a proactive step, the UAERR have issued a ‘Rugby Referee Game Norms’ guideline to UAE’s Clubs, and the UAERF will continue to communicate through their social media and other communication forums.

While there was a sharp increase in the number of cards issued during games played over the most recent weekend (January 13th) as referees look to heighten their vigilance on the high tackle, there is a general increase in discipline and infringement issues which the UAERF are extremely committed to working toward a dramatic reduction.

Red Card statistics

16 red cards to date

  • Longest ban is 2 matches after reduction
  • 8 cards for Dangerous Tackling
  • 6 cards for Punch/Strike
  • 1 card for Dissent/Abuse Match Official
  • 1 card for Pick Up and Tip Tackling

Yellow Card statistics

116 yellow cards to date

  • 9 players are on their 2nd yellow of the season
  • 49 cards for Dangerous Tackling
  • 26 cards for Repeated Infringement
  • 13 cards for Unfair Play
  • 4 cards for Punch/Strike
  • 4 cards for Dissent/Abuse Match Official
  • 3 cards for Dangerous Charging
  • 3 cards for Dangerous Play in Scrum, Ruck or Maul
  • 3 cards for Late Charging the Kicker
  • 3 cards for Playing Opposition without Ball
  • 2 cards for Acts Contrary to Good Sportsmanship
  • 2 cards for Pick Up and Tip Tackling
  • 2 cards for Tacking Jumper in the Air
  • 1 card for Late Tackle
  • 1 card for Obstruction

Dubai Duty Free will continue as the official sponsor of the UAE Rugby Referees and all Match Officials through to the 2017/2018 UAE Rugby season. This support enables the UAE Rugby Referees to strengthen their standing as leaders within Asia Rugby through regional referee development and exchange programme.

Renewed support of UAE Rugby Referees

Dubai Duty Free, the world’s leading single airport retailer, has renewed its support of the UAE Rugby’s Referees Society for a further three-years through to, and including, the 2017/2018 season. The agreement names Dubai Duty Free as the Federation’s Official Sponsor of UAE Rugby Referees and Match Officials.

As well as prominent positioning on the referees kit and working on UAE-based referee development, an important aspect of the sponsorship allows the UAE Rugby Referees Society to invest and position themselves as a training and development leader within Asia Rugby.

An integral referee development programme is the Referee Development Weekend that took place earlier this year on January 21 through 23, in the UAE, where nine referees from neighbouring unions; Nepal, Sri Lanka, Jordan, Malaysia, China (2), India (2) and Uzbekistan, were hosted and where a core team of UAE Referees, consisting of Clare Shryane, Clare Daniels, Steve Leyshon and Stan Wright facilitated a three-day development programme on the fundamentals of rugby, assistant and tournament refereeing, fitness, working within a team and managing advice and input. Each of these components are designed to grow the referee/match official to being more effective and efficient at Union level while focusing on and working toward representation at international level, such as the World Rugby sanctioned Dubai Rugby 7’s tournament.

“Dubai Duty Free’s commitment to, and relationships with numerous local and international sporting events, and governing bodies is widely recognised” stated Colm McLoughlin Executive Vice Chairman, Dubai Duty Free. “We continue to be encouraged by the steps the Federation and the Referees Society take to develop, and instil best practices in those individuals who officiate over the game at a local, regional and international level.”

“The Board are very proud of the commitment to the game and compliment our UAE Rugby Referees for their initiatives and leadership. UAE Rugby was very pleased with the attendance from our neighbouring unions at our recent programme, and it was shared that the facilitators saw quantifiable development, which will only benefit the way the game is overseen and played across Asia’s unions. We sincerely thank Dubai Duty Free for their ongoing support of our efforts in managing and officiating the game of rugby here and abroad” said UAE Rugby Secretary General Qais Al Dhalai.

Dubai Duty Free’s support will see UAE Rugby’s Referees and Match Officials continue their development through attendance at regular IRB accredited workshops and courses, develop skills through officiating over West Asia Cross Borders rugby, as well as participate in and facilitate referee exchanges and development programmes. The Dubai Duty Free logo will have prominent positioning on the Referees and March Officials kit.

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