From rugby supporter to referee

From rugby supporter to referee

Jasmine Duncker is a self-described rugby mum, from a rugby whanau in our local community wanting to be involved with her kids’ activities. 

Taking the next step in her rugby journey she recently attended the Wahine with Whistles (Rugby 101) course hosted by Maggie Cogger-Orr and has since been able to put her new knowledge to good use.

We asked Jasmine to tell us a bit more about her journey and what she has enjoyed about it.

How did you get involved in rugby?

I have never played rugby but I am an avid supporter and follower. Men's, women’s, school and club level. I really enjoy being involved with my kid's rugby teams, their parents, siblings and extended whanau. 

I did my first DHL Super Rugby Pacific ad this year too, my boss was amazing at letting me be a part of it instead of getting 'hired' actors knowing how much I love rugby. It is played in the stadiums before and during each match, I love my kids' faces when they see it’s me, and no I don't bribe them to say 'That’s my Mum' really loud each time haha.

What made you turn to refereeing?

I have managed two of my son's Junior Rugby Teams since 2019 and have seen the reluctance from our volunteer coaches, managers and parents to put their hand up to referee. Lack of knowledge and confidence being the main driver I think. Also, the assumption the Union or Club will provide professional refs each and every game. 

We have been lucky to have my husband Luke and another Dad (Andrew Chin) referee Declan's games over the last few years. But Quinn's team had no volunteers this year. Maggie’s course at Counties Rugby came about at the right time and gave me the tools and confidence to put my hand up. 

How did you find the course with Maggie and how do you think the course helped?

The course by Maggie was delivered in a casual environment, alongside other wahine who were all motivated to just learn more and help the game grow where we can. I loved hearing the rules in a simplified and relatable way for our Junior Kids. We have only just transitioned from Rippa to Tackle so it was great to learn about how to manage the game for the kids of that age group. 

One of my son's coaches did not want to referee and with no other volunteers, I happily put my hand up the same week of attending the course. I have since done three home games and one training game between my two son's teams (U9 & U8).

Each time I have asked parents for feedback and taken on board their comments, apparently, I smile too much LOL. Maggie gave me the confidence to just give it a go. Go with the flow, don't take negative sideline 'chat' at junior rugby seriously, they aren't the ones who put their hand up, I did.  

What do you love about refereeing?

Fitness, wow those 6 - 9 year olds can run around a lot. Kids really do take onboard the advice you are giving out on the field to improve their method or game, it's priceless being able to see it up-close on the field.

What do you wish to get out of your contribution as a referee in rugby?

Learning more alongside my three sons as they grow and progress through their rugby or sport journey. 

When I attend DHL Super Rugby Pacific or International Games, I will have a bit more knowledge in the kete to hold my own against supporters of the opposition LOL. The company I work for sponsors the current Super Rugby Competition in NZ and we have a bit of rivalry going on in the office. 


If you’re interested in becoming a referee reach out to our Referee and Community Projects Manager Brandon Roberts