2021 Winter Edition

Supported by ACME Whistles

Welcome back to the Whistle-Blower! What a busy few months, with heaps to wrap up from the winter that has been - since March, we have serviced 1,163 games across the Bay, from Under-11 to Representative - that's 98% of all games played in those grades! Incredible effort from all our Match Officials, what a way to Serve the Game, and Serve the Community.

With a spanner thrown in the works now by COVID-19, we can really appreciate how fortunate we were to get the length of season we did, free of restrictions and the modified playing conditions in effect elsewhere in the world. We all hope that we can get back on the park soon to complete the Senior finals, along with the Representative season. Following that, the focus will shift to Sevens, which creates awesome opportunities for our referees to be involved, and grow quickly with coaching support across multiple games in a single day! Plus these are great social events in a fun environment, always plenty of camaraderie.

As always, a huge thank you to our sponsors JMC Contracting, Generation Homes and Roofing Industries, we appreciate your ongoing support. The Whistle-Blower is also generously backed by ACME Whistles.

Upcoming Dates
  • POSTPONED - Annual Referee Awards (Mt Maunganui)
  • 3rd November - BOPRU Secondary Schools Girls Sevens (Paengaroa)
  • 6th November - BOPRU Secondary Schools Boys Sevens (Paengaroa)
  • 13th November - BOPRU Senior Club Sevens (Paengaroa)
  • 20th November - BOPRU Youth Club Sevens (Paengaroa)
  • 2nd-5th December - Condor Sevens (Auckland)
View the Referee Calendar Webpage
Local Legend - Ollie Arnold

This edition we connect with Whakatāne legend Ollie Arnold. Not only has Ollie been a part of our Club for 20 years, he serves the game both on and off the field. Ollie is also an important support pillar of mental and emotional health for any of our club members in need, often who are subject to some less that pleasant exchanges on the field.

Ollie is also a committed and proud part of the Eastern Bay Sub-Union Committee, so his contribution to our sport is immense! Have a read about Ollie below:

How many years have you refereed?

On and off I have referred since 1990. I wrote and passed my first law exam in June 1990. For the last 20 years, I have refereed every season in the Bay.

Why did you take up refereeing?

I was doing National Service in the South African Defence Force at the time, and if you did not play sport, you had to attend PT sessions. That served as the necessary inspiration. That, and my love for the game.

What is your occupation and where do you study and/ or go to school?

I am a clinical psychologist. I attended school in Randburg in South Africa and studies at the Rand Afrikaans University and completed my Masters degree at Potchefstroom University. I have also completed various other diplomas at EIT (Napier) and the Open Polytech. I started my schooling in Windhoek, Namibia.

What are some of your refereeing highlights?

I have officiated in various finals, but to be part of games like the Fatty Nuku trophy games have always been special. I guess the highlight was my first game refereeing at the Rotorua Stadium (it was a colts game).

Have you travelled anywhere with Rugby?

I have travelled to Gisborne on a couple of interchanges. Also to East Coast. All very enjoyable.

What is the best piece of refereeing advice you have received (refereeing or life)?

Respect the game and the players.

Would you rather...

…live one life that lasts 1,000 years or live 10 lives that last 100 years each?

The latter, variety is the spice of life….

…be a moron in a world full of geniuses or a genius in a world full of morons?

Sometimes where I work, I feel like Freud….

…cook or wash dishes?

Cook. I love cooking

…be able to teleport anywhere or be able to read minds?

Reading minds would be too much like work, let’s Harry Potter rather

…have hands that kept growing as you got older or feet that kept growing as you got older?


Law Updates

While the 2021 season itself was a reasonably settled one in terms of law - no drastic changes to get our heads around - the back end of it has promised that we'll have a few things to learn heading into new competitions! 


Two clarifications have been issued so far this year. These aren't new law, but just help us when applying existing law. Click through to each one for details:


Our first taste of the new World Rugby Global Law Trials will be with our 2021/22 Sevens season, before getting into them with XV's in the 2022 season. These are currently in effect for our National Competitions, but not for any other local rugby in the 2021 season.

Start learning more about the trial laws today! CLICK HERE to view the education page on the World Rugby site, complete with explanations, background and example videos.

Summary of the Global Law Trials:

  • 50:22
  • Goal line drop-out
  • Flying wedge
  • 1-player pre-latched
  • Cleanout and the safety of the jackler

There are also a continuation granted for the Sevens law trial, whereby a team may nominate and use up to five replacements (in addition to substitutions to cover blood, injury or foul play incidents). The substitutions can be made on a rolling basis. In the event of extra-time, a sixth replacement can also be utilised.


Great news! NZ Rugby have confirmed that a major glitch in the Online Law Test system has now been fixed! Many people were being locked out after just one test attempt, but no longer - you are now able to sign-in and complete the law test up to three times per 12 months.

Lockdown would be an EXCELLENT chance to give this a go. Just head over to our Law Knowledge Test page for all the info you need to access it.


Don't forget, you can always access the most up-to-date laws through the World Rugby Laws site, and plenty of additional resources on our own BOPRU Laws page. Also, one of the most useful tools to possess is the World Rugby Laws mobile app - download it today if you haven't already!

Notable Appointments

A number of our clubmates picking up some well-deserved appointments since March, catch the list below!

Super Rugby & Internationals

Shane McDermott (TMO)

  • Blues v NSW Waratahs
  • Maori All Blacks v Samoa

John Dustow (SL Manager)

  • Chiefs v Hurricanes
  • Chiefs v Brumbies
  • Maori All Blacks v Samoa
  • Samoa v Tonga (Hamilton/Auckland)
  • All Blacks v Fiji

Sam Fellows (Time Keeper)

  • Chiefs vs Highlanders
  • Samoa v Tonga (Hamilton)

Other Representative

Chiefs vs Blues (Super Development): Sam Fellows (AR1)

Bay of Plenty Toa v NZ Fiji U21: Cam Russell (Referee)

Finals Referees

Club Finals:

  • Premier 1 Men: Nick Briant
  • Premier 2 Men: Sam Fellows
  • Premier Women: Tiana Ngawati
  • Premier 1 Development: Jaco Brouwer
  • Premier 2 Development: Neco Blank
  • WBOP Senior Local: Estelle Whaiapu
  • EBOP Senior Local: Sean Moore

School Finals:

  • 1st XV Division 1: Cam Russell
  • 1st XV Division 2: Braydin Southall
  • U16 Premiership: Joe Waru
  • U16 Championship: Sean Curragh
  • U14 Premiership: Jonty Jenkins
  • U14 Championship: Conrad Whittle

Farah Palmer Cup

Tiana Ngawati (Referee)

  • Canterbury v Counties Manukau
  • Counties Manukau v Auckland
  • Manawatū v Hawkes’ Bay
  • Counties Manukau v Otago
  • Hawke’s Bay v Northland

Bay of Plenty Volcanix v Waikato: Estelle Whaiapu [AR1], Rees Uerata [AR2], Tiana Ngawati [SC1], Tom Rutherford [SC2], Graeme Meyrick [SR]

National Provincial Championship

Nick Briant (Referee)

  • Auckland v Canterbury
  • Hawke’s Bay v Otago (Ranfurly Shield)

Bay of Plenty Steamers v Tasman: Cam Russell [AR1], Jaco Brouwer [AR2], Shane McDermott [TMO], Peter Morgan [#4], David Hodgson [SR], Nick Burton [SC1], Graeme Meyrick [SC2]

Panel Promotions & New Club Members

So many of our referees have worked very hard this season, and some have even stepped up, risen to the challenge, and been promoted panels. Congrats to all who have, listed below (some have been previously announced this season):

  • Tiana Ngawati - Promoted to Panel 1
  • Sean Moore - Promoted to Panel 2
  • Braydin Southall - Promoted to Panel 2
  • Dean Andrews - Promoted to Panel 3
  • Laurence Cockrell - Promoted to Panel 3
  • Sean Curragh - Promoted to Panel 3
  • Jonty Jenkins - Promoted to Panel 3
  • Ronan Lett - Promoted to Panel 4
  • Wyatt Lett - Promoted to Panel 4
  • Reilly Shortall - Promoted to Panel 4
  • Nick Stewart - Promoted to Panel 4

We also welcomed new referees into our club for their first year as registered referees! Congratulations to the following newest BOPRU Referees Club members:

  • Michael Conder
  • Russell Conder
  • Matthew Johns
  • Alex MacDonald
  • Darin Morresey
  • Campbell Price
  • Henry Scholes
  • Zac Steadman
  • Jake Stott

Lastly, we also welcomed the following members into our club this season from around the country. Great to have you here in the Bay and a part of our Club!

  • Dan Rolls
  • Don Pickerill
  • Tom Rutherford
  • John Gillies
Lockdown Reading

What a chance to catch up on a bit of personal development! Below I have included links to a number of interesting articles, and in particular highlighted an article around effective communication, and one about the “Dark Arts” of the scrum.

Reading list…

Ever heard the saying that perception is reality? Sometimes as much as we don't want that to be true, it is. How our decisions are perceived (whether correct or not) can go a long way to the capital we either build or spend with teams. So, what are we able to do to frame the perception to suit what we're trying to achieve?

Check out this article from Referee.com - the sub-headings spell out a few key themes as it is…

  • A good decision can be communicated badly and create perceptions of unfairness
  • Personal Qualities
  • The best communicators are respectful and approachable
  • One-way Communication
  • Situation Monitoring
  • Skilled Interaction
Future Editions

We're on the lookout for someone to take the lead with The Whistle-Blower! Think that's you? Send Cam an email cam@boprugby.co.nz and we can go from there!

Until then, The Whistle-Blower will be back in a few months with the Spring  2021 Edition.