World Rugby Officiating : The home of Rugby officiating on the web : Match Observation Programme
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The whistle

The whistle must be made to ‘talk’ - to communicate to everyone concerned that an infringement has taken place. Remember, players and spectators don’t like excessive whistle blowing. For your whistle-based communication, the following guidelines help to ensure a precise, confident and consistent approach for all matches:

  • The angle of the whistle in your mouth gives different tones - up for a higher note, down for a lower note. The tone can be shortened or lengthened by quickly withdrawing the whistle from the mouth.
  • Depending on the infringement, the tone can be varied as follows:
  • Use a long, loud blast for a penalty or mark.
  • Use a ‘happy’ loud blast for a try or goal.
  • Use a short blast for a scrum.