Referees Corner – Issue 11 – La Rochelle – 2023/24

April 14, 2024 in News

We have to start this week with wishing Joy Neville the very best of luck as she referees her final game tomorrow – France v Italy in the Womens Six Nations. What an amazing ambassador for the game, refereeing and womens rugby in general she has been. She is a marvellous human being as well. Best wishes from all at Leinster Rugby Referees, Joy.


Today’s match officiating team is Karl Dickson (Eng); Assistant referees: Luke Pearce (Eng), Andrew Jackson (Eng); TMO: Tom Foley (Eng); Citing Commissioner: Beth Dickens (Sco). Karl Dickson started in rugby as a player, competing at scrum-half. Dickson played for Bedford Blues and Harlequins before announcing his retirement in 2017.  Through the London Society of Referees he made his refereeing debut at the Reigate School 7s in March 2014 and since then has taken charge of a range of matches including schools, club juniors, sevens as well as local and national league clubs. He made his Six Nations referee debut in the 2022 tournament when he took charge of Scotland v France. He refereed France v Ireland in this year’s tournament. We wish him and his team well today. 


As another season draws closer to a close our focus in Leinster Rugby Referees is firmly on next season and with that recruitment. We are always looking for new talented referees, so whether you are retiring from the game, injured or just looking for a different aspect to rugby, perhaps refereeing is for you.

Referee Recruitment and Development is a key element of Leinster Rugby policy. The investment in referee development in Leinster has produced some of the most highly regarded referees in world rugby. Some of the famous names in refereeing circles to have come out of the Leinster Refereeing production line include Donal Courtney (Monkstown FC), Alan Lewis (Old Wesley RFC) who appointed to referee at the 2007 Rugby World Cup and multiple European games and Alain Rolland (Blackrock College RFC) who was appointed to referee at the 2007 Rugby World Cup and ended up refereeing the final. Roller then went on to the 2011 World Cup and also refereed in the 2009 Lions tour and 3 Heineken Cup Finals!!! Joseph Magee of Bective Rangers was one of our first International Referees all the way back in 1897!!

Leinster referees have also been well represented on the international IRB Sevens circuit. David Keane (Old Belvedere RFC) was appointed to lead the International Referee Squad at the 2009 RWC 7s and at one stage held the world record for the number of 7’s games refereed.  Helen O’Reilly (Ashbourne RFC) who refereed at the Women’s  6 Nations and Women’s World Cup was a trailblazer for Womens refereeing.

What about the current batch? Andrew Cole is a regular assistant on the European circuit and also has refereed in the Rugby Europe competition. Robbie Jenkinson is just back from the U20 Six Nations Championship and Katie Bryne has also officiated at the U18 Six Nations Championship. Padraic Reidy, Sam Holt and Paul O’Connor are also regulars on the domestic and European fronts.


So what about you? Interested in traveling the province, 6 nations or world with a whistle? Why do it? There are many reasons:


  • 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, URC and the Energia League
  • Referees ‘a club within a club’ who meet regularly for meetings. There’s a great team spirit. We have had many guest speakers including Chris Pollock (NZRFU), Matt O’Connor, Joe Schmidt, Kevin Beggs, Nic Berry & Ben O’Keefee at our meetings.
  • Ambition – could you referee an international match?
  • Tickets – Referees are allowed to apply for international and provincial match tickets.


There are plenty of details of referee pathways, stories and lots more information on our website.


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