Referees Corner – Issue 12 – Ospreys – 2023/24

May 14, 2024 in News

A very warm welcome to another edition of referees corner. Todays match referee is Sam Grove-White front he Scottish Rugby Union. Sam started refereeing following an ankle injury whilst playing in university. He has had a steady progression through his refereeing career. He has refereed in the Japanese Top League in 2015 as part of a Scottish Rugby Union initiative to create links with Scotland and Japan rugby and he is also a regular  in the Scottish Premiership as well as the URC. Sam was picked as a referee for the World Rugby Sevens Series of 2016-17 season. This continued through to the 2018-19 season. Grove-White has refereed in the Under 20 Six Nations and also refereed in the 2018 Commonwealth Games. This is his fifth time refereeing Leinster. Today he will be ably assisted by Keane Davidson and Oisin Quinn of the IRFU withDave Sutherland SRU in the TMO box. We wish the team well. 

 

I had a chance to catch up with one of up and coming referees and regular half time minis official Aude de Casanove recently. Here’s what she had to say about refereeing:

 

  1. What made you decide to take up the whistle?

 

I had been playing for a few years but was spending more time on the bench than on the pitch at the time. So when I saw on Facebook that ARLB was looking to recruit more women referees I thought “why not give it a try”. I saw it as an opportunity to make myself useful to the game, especially as at the time I had been refereed by a woman only once.

 

  1. How long are you refereeing now and what level are you at?

 

I have been refereeing for 5 years now, though with the pandemic I only left the trialists 2 years ago. I am mid-tier I would say, refereeing up to metro 4

 

  1. What is the biggest thing you have learned since you started out?

 

To take a deep breath and stay calm when pressure is building up. Players, coaches, spectators… Everyone can get agitated during a match, but you must stay calm to think straight . Also that I am way too talkative!

 

  1. What was the process like to become a referee?

 

First you needed to show your interest via email or phone to LRR. They would then do a quick interview to assess you. If you were successful you were invited to the induction session. At the time the one day induction was where you learnt about the key missions of the referee and how to be a referee. A lot was theoretical though. We also had to do an online test to check that we knew the basis of the laws and off we went; first assignment was the following Saturday as a trialist. 

 

  1. What is your training regime like?

 

I don’t train specifically for refereeing.., as I still play I have training twice a week, I also play tag and do some horse-riding. I would definitely benefit from going back to the gym and work on my acceleration though

 

  1. What is your favourite thing about refereeing?

 

I like being in the middle and making the calls, you can’t complain about the referee when you are the one holding the whistle. It’s the best seat in the stadium !

 

  1. What is the most memorable game you have refereed so far?

 

I got the opportunity to be number 6 (stat official) at the Ireland-Italy women 6 nations match. I know it’s not much but I had a fantastic day being behind the scenes of such an event. The other match officials were extremely supportive as well and it really boosted my motivation to become a better referee!

 

  1. What is your pre – match routine like?

 

Starts with breakfast with scrambled-eggs and a cup of tea while reading the laws I got wrong at the last match. Then I determine my objectives for the day, which area do I want to improve since the last match? 

Then it’s time to go to the pitch, introduce myself to the coaches and collect the team sheets, meet the players and check their boots. I talk to the full team all at once and remind them that “I only have two eyes and that there is no TMO. If I see something I will whistle, if I do not see it, I cannot whistle”

Then I do my warm up, the toss, and off we go!

 

  1. What are your refereeing aspirations? 

 

For the moment I am not ready to give up on playing so I am conscious it is limiting my progress as a referee and I am happy where I am. Ultimately, I am not sure how far I could go as with higher level matches also comes more pressure and a higher risk of abuse…

 

  1. Who is your idol or favourite referee and why?

 

Hollie Davidson, I really like how calm she is during matches and straightforward and clear when talking to the players. 

 

  1. For aspiring referees what do you think  will make you improve as a referee?

 

Keep refereeing, and keep moving. Fitness is key as you need to be close enough to the action to be able to tell if something is legal or not. Hard to judge if you are consistently 20m behind and it doesn’t give you much credibility. And going back every time with a smile, even if I wasn’t happy with my previous performance, I try to learn from it 

 

  1. What advice would you give to someone thinking about taking up refereeing?

 

Come and join us! It may seem lonely, and it can be sometimes, but the other referees have been extremely welcoming and supportive. I have learnt a lot about myself since I mustered the courage to join and I don’t regret it

 

Feel free to make contact with the Leinster Rugby Referees at hayley.whyte@leinsterrugby.ie or sean.gallagher@irfu.ie  If you are interested in becoming a referee get in contact with us through our Facebook, our website www.leinsterrugbyreferees.ie or through X @leinsterreferee