Leinster Match Program – Article 9

February 7, 2019 in Match Program

This article appeared in the Toulouse Match Day Program.
A warm welcome to another edition of referees corner.  A special welcome also to the refereeing team from the RFU of Luke Pearce, assisted by Tom Foley and Jonathon Healy and the TMO is Graham Hughes. Cillian Hogan is No 4, Andrew Cole is No 5 and the Timekeeper is Andrew Baird.


Luke joined the Devon Referee Society in 2005 at the age of 16. He previously played rugby at junior level, being part of the Exeter Saracens Rugby Club and captained a Welsh Exiles Under-16’s team. In September 2005, Luke refereed his first game, Crediton Seconds against Newton Abbot Thirds. From there, Luke quickly went through the referee system, becoming the youngest referee to be promoted to the RFU National panel in 2009.


On 10 September 2011, Luke took charge of his first Premiership match, officiating Gloucester’s home game against Worcester Warriors. That same season, he debuted on the World Sevens Series and since then has appeared in nine series tournaments.


On 18 November 2011, he took charge of his first European game, referring Stade Français’s victory over București Wolves during the 2011–12 European Challenge Cup. In February 2013, he refereed his first international, taking charge of Romania against Russia in the European Nations Cup. Later that year, he was appointed by World Rugby to officiate in the 2013 IRB Junior World Championship in France. In 2014, Luke made his first Six Nations Championship appearance, acting as Assistant Referee for Steve Walsh in the meeting between Italy and Scotland. In the 2018 mid-year rugby union internationals, he took charge of his first tier 1 international of New Zealand  vs  France.



Some of our own referees are out on European action today. Brian MacNeice is TMO for Clermont and Northampton, Nigel Correll is Touch Judge for Lyon and Saracens, and Sean Gallagher is sub referee for Exeter and  Castres. If, like Luke and many of our own referees you are interested in refereeing and would like to walk out on the European stage one day we will be running a new referees workshop in two weeks time as follow:



Date: 26 January 2019

Venue: TBC at 9.00am

To register your interest go to http://tinyurl.com/y9qus2uu



Why become a referee?

  • Stay with the game as an alternative to playing.
  • Social – The social aspect of rugby is renowned. Refereeing is a great way to meet new people and make new friends.
  • Fitness – It is a fantastic way to keep fit. The IRFU have the highest level of expertise in this area.
  • Travel – The highest level you reach as a referee, the more involvement you will have at European Competitions,  Pro 14 League and the All Ireland League
  • Referees ‘a club within a club’ who meet regularly for meetings. There’s a great team spirit.
  • Ambition – could you referee an international match?
  • Tickets – Referees are allowed to apply for international and provincial match tickets.



In other news Leinster international referee Sean Gallagher will take charge of matches in the upcoming Women’s Six Nations Championship in February and March. World Rugby has announced the match official appointments for the 2019 Women’s Six Nations Championship. A team of 13 referees, two assistant referees and five television match officials have been selected for the tournament.


The appointments include ten female referees and six of the selected referees will be making their Six Nations debuts – Nikki O´Donnell (RFU), Laura Pettingale (RFU), Clara Munarini (FIR), Rebecca Mahoney(NZRU), Aurelie Groizeleau (FFR) and Hollie Davidson (SRU).


Aimee Barrett-Theron from South Africa will take charge of the Championship’s opening game when Ireland face England at Energia Park in Dublin on Friday, February 1. The IRFU’s Sean Gallagher will referee France v Wales in the opening round. Gallagher’s Irish colleague and 2017 World Rugby Referee of the Year, Joy Neville, will have the whistle for the clash between England and Scotland at Twickenham on Saturday, March 16. Fellow IRFU match official Leo Colgan will act as TMO for a number of fixtures.


The association needs more referees and opting to become one may be the best decision you’ve made for a long time. There is a pre-defined pathway to the top with regular training sessions both on field and practical given by our top referees. More information on these pathways can be found on our website www.arlb.ie 


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.