Referees Corner – Issue 10 – Lions – 2021/22

February 26, 2022 in News

Welcome to another edition of referees corner. We start on a sad note this week as we learned with great sadness of the death of long serving member, Greg Larkin. Greg was a long time referee, mentor and assessor in the association and gave many great years of service to Leinster Rugby Referees. A proud Seapoint man, he assessed many referees, including myself, in their trial games and helped them on their refereeing journeys. We pass on our deepest sympathies to his family. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h-anam dílis.


Today’s match referee is Craig Evans from Wales assisted by Peter Martin and Stuart Gaffikin with Colin Stanley in the TMO box. Craig began refereeing on the World Rugby Sevens Series in 2016. He also refereed during the 2020 Olympics. He made his URC / Pro 14 refereeing debut in 2018,and was awarded his first Six Nations Championship match for the match between Italy and Ireland in the 2021 Six Nations Championship.He was appointed to the Tier One select group of referees in June 2021. We wish the team well today. 


This season so far has seen 34 trainee referees come through the process of becoming a full member of Leinster Rugby Referees. Our trainee referees are managed through the process of becoming full members with support from Tom Colton trainee referees manager, Gordon Condell trainee referees assistant manager, Sean Gallagher IRFU Referee Manager for Leinster, Norman Carter, Head of Mentoring and Jim Breen Head of Evaluation and the area representatives in each of the areas, Kevin McDermott in the South East, John Dunne in the North Midlands, Joe McDermot in the North East and Paddy Curran in the Midlands


Our new recruits did their induction workshop, facilitated by Sean Gallagher last September, and then were sent out to referee youth games to get match experience.  Our trainee refs received mentoring over a number of weeks and then did their assessment game. If they pass the assessment they are then put forward to become full members of Leinster Rugby Referees. Their name are submitted to the Executive Committee of Leinster Rugby Referees where they are nominated by their area rep to become full members. Once elected as full members the new referees are issued with their official kit and they continue to be appointed to youth matches as well as adult matches.


The new referees then receive further mentoring and evaluation over the following months to help support them on their journey as a Leinster Rugby Referee. All our referees attend monthly meetings where different topics are discuss, for example scrum, line out or game management for example. Here is the experience of one of our newly qualified referees.


Mentoring Objectives:


  • To support the referee with a view to retention
  • To assist and participate in the education and development of the  referee
  • To identify and reinforce positive aspects of the performance
  • To suggest actions which the  referee can implement to improve their performance


Our main focus is on New Trial members to support them at the start of their refereeing careers to get up to a standard to complete Trial Match, follow up mentoring is to assist with further development. Leinster Rugby referees have a panel of approx. 40 members who have agreed to make themselves available to act as mentors.


After a referee has been mentored a report is completed by the mentor, this report focusing on actions which the referee can implement to improve their performance. The mentor process is also used to identify new referees who show particular potential and can be put forward for further coaching and development. The appointment of Mentors is arranged by ‘Manager of Mentors’ in co-ordination with the area reps who appoint trial members in their area. 


Referee coaching is a valuable piece in the jigsaw of referee development.  There is a panel of development referees who have been identified as having potential to progress their refereeing careers to a higher level.  To help them achieve this, we have a focused group of coaches who mainly support this panel.  


There are two ways the coaches review games.  They go out in person to watch games and then discuss the game with the referee afterwards and identify areas of improvement.  We also have two ‘ref cams’ in operation.  This is an excellent development tool for referees as they get to replay the game with an experienced coach.  


Rather than criticising the referee’s performance, the coaches aim to help the referee find their own solutions.  Our referee coaches themselves are an experienced group who have refereed at the highest levels and really enjoy sharing their wisdom and experience with the next generation of referees.


Want to get involved? 

Feel free to make contact with the Leinster Rugby Referees at  If you are interested in becoming a referee get in contact with us through our Facebook, our website or through twitter @leinsterreferee.