May 23, 2016


To be a referee can be one of the most difficult jobs there are in rugby – taking charge of two sides of passionate players, coaches & supporters, one side will inevitably end up disappointed.

6 weeks ago the Saracens HITZ participants were given the challenge of learning how to referee a TAG rugby tournament, building up to actually running and reffing the North London Schools Finals Tournament last week.

One of the key features of the HITZ Programme is developing social skills through sport that can support you in wider aspects of life. With employment being one of the driving motivations for many learners on the programme, the ability to referee shows the resilience, ability to handle pressure and the ability to make decisions that will impress most future employers.

Many participants may have entered the programme struggling with their confidence and even taking to the pitch on the final tournament was an achievement. The group initially started by learning how to play and referee their peers within the group and then the week before the big tournament they tested themselves at one level higher when staff from the Saracens office gave up their time to play in a TAG rugby match refereed by the group and gave them a taste of what is to come in terms of the main tournament.

On Tournament day last Wednesday, the young referees came out nervous but excited. The teams were ready and the level of talent was high and although there was a lot of pressure coming from the side lines in each game the referees kept their cool and stuck to what they had learnt.

The achievement was massive for the guys who took part on the day and something to be really proud of! Hopefully completing a challenge like this can help the group gain the confidence to throw themselves into further challenges and build on the success of the last week.

The Saracens HITZ Programme is a social inclusion programme looking to help 16-18 year olds who have fallen out of the mainstream education system find their way into education, training or employment. Learners come from varied backgrounds and are placed out of their comfort zones throughout the programme challenging their self-confidence, social skills and work rate.

If you would like to learn more about the HITZ Programme and how it supports young people then please contact the Saracens HITZ Project Officer – Nick Gourlay at




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