Referees Corner – Issue 1 – 2019/20

October 6, 2019 in News

Welcome to the 2019/20 rugby season and another edition of Referees Corner. We had quite a summer in referee towers with a lot of changes going on in the background. Firstly, congratulations to Norman Carter of Roscrea RFC who was elected President of the Leinster Rugby Referees at the end of last season. Norman succeeds Bryan O’Neill of Lansdowne FC who had a fantastic year in office. David Robb becomes Senior Vice President and Gordon Condell was elected Junior Vice President. We wish them all a successful year in office.

The 2018/19 season ended on a sad note for everyone involved in Leinster Rugby Referees and wider refereeing circles with the retirement of our Administrator, Denis Collins. After an incredible 19 years at the helm Denis hung up his administrative whistle for the last time. He has helped every referee, assessor and visiting official that passed through his doors over those 19 years, without fail and always with a kind word and a smile. Always available to lend a sympathetic ear and offer advice, he has had a huge impact of refereeing in Leinster and Ireland. He will be sorely missed and we wish him well in his retirement. Go out and enjoy it young man.

We welcome Hayley Whyte who has taken over from Denis as Referee Administrator and also welcome Sam Holt as Referee Development Officer for Leinster. Sam is a member of Edenderry RFC.

This summer saw the Union Cup played in Dublin. Union Cup is Europe’s biggest LGBT+ inclusive rugby tournament. The two-day festival of rugby was held in June, at Dublin’s DCU with 45 teams from 15 countries competing, making it the biggest Union Cup to date. A huge team of Leinster Rugby Referees and referees from the UK, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany organised by Tom Colton, Metro Area Rep, officiated at the tournament.

Kings Cross Steelers won the Union Cup for the seventh consecutive occasion. The Steelers defeated familiar foes Manchester Village Spartans 65-0 in a final featuring a special appearance from International Referee Nigel Owens as guest referee. Railway Union won the first ever dedicated women’s 10-a-side tournament, the Ann Louise Gilligan trophy – named in honour of the wife of minister Katherine Zappone, beating Suttonians 51-0 with five tries from Stephanie Carroll. Elsewhere, Dublin City University won the Ann Louise Gilligan Bowl beating Stockholm Barbarians 19-7 in the final while Manchester Village Spartans took home the Challenger Cup winning 10-5 against Liverpool Tritons as Emerald Warriors hosted the two-day festival of rugby.

As we enter into the new season, already a month old, we remind all players and coaches of the World Rugby High Tackle decision framework, which we have seen implemented throughout the Rugby World Cup. The framework is a systematic tool that guides decision making by providing a logical, step by step approach to the problem. Under Law 9.11, the referee is always entitled to issue a red or yellow card for anything that they deem to be reckless or dangerous.

However, the following guideline is intended to improve consistency in application of sanctions by distinguishing between dangerous tackles that warrant a penalty, yellow card or red card. The framework also supports protection of the head of both players by consistently and frequently sanctioning the tackle behaviour that is known to be the highest risk.

The first question is Is the tackle a shoulder charge or high tackle?

  1. If so, Was there ball carrier head/neck contact?
  2. What is the degree of danger – high or low?
  3. Are there clear and obvious mitigating factors?*

More information can be found at or on our website.


Have you got what it takes? The Leinster Referees always need more referees and opting to become one may be the best decision you’ve made for a long time. We will have more courses in the next few months.


Feel free to make contact with the Leinster Rugby Referees at contact by phone Hayley Whyte at 01-2235107 or Sam Holt


If you are interested in becoming a referee get in contact with us through our Facebook, our website or through twitter @leinsterreferee.