About Us

The Royal Navy Rugby Union Referees Society (RNRURS) is an integral part of the Royal Navy Rugby Union and the UK Armed Forces Rugby Referees Federation. The society exists to manage and develop match officials in the Royal Navy, by appointing the right officials to the right games. Many of our officials have had significant success in civilian as well as Service rugby, with members currently officiating on the RFU and SRU National Panel, in the RFU Championship, PRO 14, and European Rugby Challenge Cup.

The society offers the RNRU advice on all refereeing matters through the Society Chairman, in his role as Assistant Director of Rugby (Referees). The Society is available to support all RN representative sides or unit teams that may wish to utilise the services of a referee in the training / coaching environment. In conjunction with the RNRU's Rugby Development Officer and Director of Rugby, the Society also gives a refereeing input on all coaching courses, development initiatives and training for Naval Physical Training Instructors.

Like most organisations the Society is indebted to its membership, who freely volunteer their time to officiate service rugby and provide the environment to support refereeing and allow it to thrive within the Royal Navy and Royal Marines. The Society is also indebted to the support provided by the RNRU and its committee, the RFU through its refereeing department and of course its sponsor QinetiQ.

You can follow the Royal Navy Rugby Union Referees on Twitter @RNRURS


Chairman & RNRU Assistant Director of Rugby (Referees)
Lt Col Tom Evans-Jones

Lt Gaz Fairbairn 

Training and Development
PO Dan Thurgood

Lt Cdr Ed Smith

RN Appointments
Lt Si Priestley
Email: or 

Communications and Recruitment
PO Kev Lewis

Lt Gaz Fairbairn 

Appointments / Request a Referee

All of our members are either serving or ex-serving Royal Navy or Royal Marines personnel, and give up their time from busy operational programmes or civilian employment to officiate the breadth of Royal Navy and UKAF Rugby. Regular opportunities also exist for our members to go on exchange to officiate Army and RAF Rugby Union fixtures, and has seen our members referee across the world from the rugby strongholds of France and Ireland to as far afield as Bahrain, Georgia, Israel and Portugal.

If you need a referee for an upcoming Royal Navy Rugby fixture, contact Lt Simon Priestley. Once you have a referee appointed:

  • Please contact the referee at least 48 hours in advance to confirm the match's kick off time, venue and any other necessary details. Please remember many of our members are now civilians and may require assistance gaining entry to an Establishment or other Match venue.
  • If your match is cancelled once a referee has been appointed, please contact the appointed official directly. If you are unable to speak with the appointed referee, please contact the Eastern or Western Region appointer as soon as possible in order to prevent any unnecessary travel.


The RNRURS runs foundation level referee courses each season. This is the entry level course into refereeing and is sponsored by the Rugby Football Union. The course is run by the RNRURS Training Officer and is open to all servicemen and indeed civilians. Details of the next course can be obtained by e-mailing the Society Training Officer Gaz Fairbairn (

The Development and Society Advisor Courses are controlled at UKAFRR level, all enquiries are to be directed to the RNRURS Society Training Officer.

Potential referees can also apply to join Foundation Courses run by either the Army or the RAF; again details are available from the Secretary or Training Officer.

If you are unable to attend any service run course, the society is also able to pay completely, and if not substantially subsidise, the cost of a civilian course run through the RFU. A link to the RFU course finder can be found below.