Behaviour on and off field targeted

Otago Rugby Football Union referee education officer James Doleman (front) and community rugby...
Otago Rugby Football Union referee education officer James Doleman (front) and community rugby manager Richard Perkins are part of an initiative round sportsmanship this season. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
High school sides will have every incentive to keep their mouths shut this season.

The Otago Rugby Football Union, in combination with Highlands Motorsport Park, will launch a scheme next week intended to improve sideline standards.

The scheme, which starts on Wednesday, will be used to promote positive behaviour on the field and the sideline.

Referees will score each team on four criteria: captain behaviour and interaction, player behaviour, coach behaviour and sideline behaviour.

Union community rugby manager Richard Perkins said the initiative would complement the good work implemented over several seasons.

He would like instant results about sideline behaviour and said it was important to keep reinforcing the message.

"The thing I really like about this initiative is that it puts real value on both positive behaviour and sportsmanship. I certainly hope it will provide a more positive environment for the match officials to go about their work," Perkins said.

Union referee education officer James Doleman said the scheme had not been sparked by a single incident but it was always good to keep players on their toes.

Highlands chief operating officer Josie Spillane said sport played an important part in the development of children, giving them all sorts of life skills and experiences.

The award will cover seven secondary school grades: first XV, under-18, colts, intermediate, junior, girls metro and girls central. The winners in each grade will receive a trip to Highlands later in the year for adventures on the go-karts and on the circuit.

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