Minimum Standards for Coaches and Referees

High quality coaching and officiating can contribute to reducing the risk of injury occurring. Therefore, it is important that individuals in such roles keep up to date with training and information on safe practice both on and off the pitch.

All those involved with coaching or refereeing in schools and colleges should have completed the appropriate training, are up to date with current methods and are confident in their knowledge of the rules and laws.

There are three levels of practice:

1. Required Practice

  • Completion of DBS

Note: There is no need for an additional RFU DBS if staff/coaches have a DBS through the school/college.

It is mandatory that every Age Grade coach meets the Required Practice.

2. Standard Practice (Coaches & Referees)

  • Completion of DBS
  • Completion and application of online HEADCASE training course
  • RFU Coaching / Refereeing Qualification.

The RFU recommends that contact rugby should only be introduced and refereed under the supervision of RFU coaches and referees who have achieved standard practice.

3. Best Practice (Coaches & Referees)

  • Licensed Coach / Referee (eligible to become a member of the England Rugby Coaching Association (ERCA) or English Rugby Refereeing Association (ERRA) member)
  • Qualified, Active and Engaging in annual CPD, including refereeing (if relevant)
  • Has completed the RFU Play It Safe safeguarding training, or comparable training for teachers/staff in a school/college environment
  • Has completed a relevant First Aid course (e.g. EFARU).

There is a suite of specific player safety, first aid and immediate care courses that we would highly recommend for teachers, coaches, match officials and other volunteers. As well as face to face courses the RFU have developed a number of online resources and modules to increase awareness and understanding of key player welfare topics including concussion and nutrition.

England Rugby Training Course Booklet

More information on coaching and refereeing can be found on the Keep Your Boots On! website.


Ensure you are delivering a safe and enjoyable rugby programme and can demonstrate how it is RugbySafe.