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Last Updated: Monday, 12 September 2005, 16:13 GMT 17:13 UK
Learn the referee's signals

Try scored

Try scored: The referee will extend his arm and point to the spot where the try was scored, along with a sharp blow of his whistle.

No try

No try: Both arms are crossed by the referee's chest in front of the body.

Incorrect play the ball

Incorrect play the ball: The referee will look like he's playing an imaginary ball to indicate the tackled player hasn't used the correct technique.

Goal/conversion scored

Goal/conversion scored: An arm will be raised clearly above the referee's head, along with a loud blast on the whistle.

Fifth tackle

Fifth tackle: The referee will raise his arm clearly above his head, with all five fingers of one hand spread.


Penalty: The ref will raise his arm above shoulder height. He will point towards the team who has been awarded the penalty.


Dissent: The ref will raise his arm to indicate a penalty, but will also tap his mouth with the other hand.


Offside: The referee will raise one arm to indicate a penalty has been giving to the team he is pointing to. The other arm is extended to the side to show a player is offside.

Forward pass

Forward pass: One arm is extended in front of the referee's body to show the ball has gone forward.

Knock on

Knock on: Both arms are extended in front of the body, with the palm of the hands showing.


Scrum: The referee bends the fingers of both hands and pushes them together to indicate a scrum.

Play on

Play on: The referee will raise both arms with palms open, similar to the way a cricket umpire would signal six runs.

Head high challenge

Head high challenge: The hands are raised in front the head, from the chin to the forehead, to indicate the challenge was head high.


Obstruction: Both of the referee's arms are crossed across the body, with both fists clenched.

Zero tackle

Zero tackle: The referee clench his fist and raise it in the air to show an extra tackle to the standard six given to the team who get the ball from the other team after a knock on or forward pass.

Stop the clock

Stop the clock: The referee will raise both hands high in the air, like a cricket umpire would signal a six.

Handover on the sixth tackle

Handover on the sixth tackle: The referee will raise his fist in the air and point to the team who'll receive the ball.

Incident on report

Incident on report: The referee will raise his hands above his head and cross his arms to indicate a disciplinary panel will look into an incident.

Holding down a tackled player

Holding down a tackled player: Both arms are lowered and are pushing downwards.

Yellow card

Yellow card: The referee will clearly show a yellow card to a player who has committed an offence. They then spend the next 10 minutes sitting in the sin-bin.

Red card

Red card: The referee will clearly show a red card to a player who has committed a very serious offence. They must leave the field immediately and take no further part in the game.

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