This article appeared in the Ulster match day program.
A very happy new year to one and all and welcome to the RDS for todays game. A warm welcome to todays officiating team from the Munster Association of Referees lead by match referee Andy Brace, recovered after his recent injury and his team of 3 in international referee George Clancy and Kieran Barry. Our own John Carvill is on notebook duty as 4th official, with Michael Forrestal as 5th. Jim Kelly is the statistician, Eddie Walsh is the Commissioner and Michael Carroll the assessor.
We have had a very busy season so far in the Metro Area. This season our focus has been to increase our intake of new referees and also been on trying to get as close to 100% of all games at underage with a branch appointed referee at all levels. Our monthly referees workshops are well attended. These are like a CPD type event where our members get a presentation from one of the National Panel referees on a given topic, the breakdown, scrums, lineouts or positioning for example. The presenter goes through a number of slides and videos. There is discussion on the laws applicable to the video clips, which already creates a good debate amongst the referees. These workshops ensure that our members are constantly updated with the changes that are made to laws, law interpretations and law implementations that come to us from World Rugby and the IRFU.
The new referees workshop, which was held in September, saw 28 new referee candidates for the Metro Area. These new trial referees have been doing games at underage to build their experience before they do their Trial (or assessment) game, which allows their names to be put forward then to become full members of the ARLB. To date this season, Colm Gavin (MU Barnhall RFC), Arthur Dupoint (Old Belvedere RFC), Mark McDonagh (MU Barnhall RFC), Mark Kilduff (Bective FC), Marais van Zyl (Tallaght RFC), Audrey Fulham (Tallaght RFC), Hayley White (Old Belvedere RFC) and Nayara Santos (No Club) have passed their trial games and been put forward to become full members of the ARLB.
It is always a challenge to ensure that we can provide referees for all games in the area and all the referees have been working hard to try to achieve this. The number of games that our members are required to officiate at each year is on the increase. This season, so far, to the end of November we have appointed to 299 games (underage boys and girls, and Womens Div 3 and 4) and only not being able to appoint to 3 games, giving us an impressive 99% of all game requests appointed to, which up from 185 games with an appointed rate of 85% for the same period last year.
We also took some time to catch up with one of our newer referees Calumn Povey recently.
How long are you refereeing now?
What made you decide to take up the whistle?
Watching Alain Rolland’s programme on Setanta.
What is the biggest thing you have learned since you started out?
The amount the referee gives to the game and how enjoyable it is when you’re well prepared
What was the process like to become a referee?
It’s easy – the Irfu are well organized and it took one email to register, they took it from there.
What is your training regime like?
I like to train with a group when I can, however even when I can’t make group training, I would do at least 2 x 45 min sessions of cardio in a game week and 3 if not. I also cycle to work, so that helps too!
What is your favourite thing about refereeing?
The fact that our game is governed by laws and not rules, it takes temperament and feel to interpret and you get to judge materiality.
What is the most memorable game you have refereed so far?
My first final – it was an u17 match which I really enjoyed and will stick with me.
What is your pre – match routine like?
I like to be prepared the day before, kit bag ready, notes prepped and have a page of brief scenarios ready to read before I get in the car and again in the dressing room pre match.
What are your refereeing aspirations?
To go to a level where I’m still enjoying it and able to facilitate the game to the standard it requires.
Who is your idol or favourite referee and why?
Of the current referees, I like Jerome Garces. He has a great feel for the game and his interpretation, in my view, is second to none at the moment.
From the past, Alain Rolland stands out. His decision making ability was cast iron, as we saw in the World Cup in 2011 and I really admired that.
What will make you improve as a referee?
Law knowledge, fitness and ability to ask a question if you’re unsure of something. The resources in the ARLB are great – use them!
What advice would you give to someone thinking about taking up refereeing?
Just do it. No matter your starting point, you can begin the journey.
If you are interested in refereeing we will be running a new referees workshop next January as follow:
Date: 26 January 2019
Venue: TBC at 9.00am
To register your interest go to http://tinyurl.com/y9qus2uu
The Leinster Referees always need more referees and opting to become one may be the best decision you’ve made for a long time. Feel free to make contact with the Leinster Rugby Referees through Sean at Sean.Gallagher@irfu.ie If you are interested in becoming a referee get in contact with us through our Facebook and Google + pages, our website www.arlb.ie or through twitter @leinsterreferee.