Referees Corner – Issue 4 – Munster – 2023/24

November 25, 2023 in News

Welcome to another edition of referees corner. A warm welcome to a fantastic team of referees from the Ulster Society for Rugby Football Referees led by Chris Busby. Chris will be ably assisted by Peter Martin, Keane Davidson and Mark Patton for this hugely anticipated game between Leinster and Munster. Chris is a member of Ireland’s referee High Performance Panel alongside Joy Neville, Andrew Brace, Frank Murphy and Eoghan Cross. He went through the USRFR pathway and onto the IRFU National Panel in a few years. Busby, born in Antrim, County Antrim, has been refereeing for over 7 years. He made his Pro14 refereeing debut on 9 October 2020 refereeing the match between Zebre and Dragons. He was one of the Irish referees selected as a match official for the 2023 Rugby World Cup. He described his appointment as a surreal experience. We wish them all well today and wish Chris continued success.


Congratulations to Robbie Jenkinson who has been selected to referee at the Dubai Sevens in the UAE on December 1 – 3. Billed at the biggest sports and entertainment event in the middle east, it should be a great experience for Robbie, who has been making great progress since joining the national referee panel last year.


Each month our referees meet at our area meeting where different topics are discussed.  Our Referee Development Manager, Sean Gallagher, brings the referees through a presentation and discussion around topics like game management, scrums, breakdown. This is to ensure that our referees have the most up to date information and interpretations from the IRFU on laws. It is also a change for our referees to meet and chat about their own games and scenarios they came across. So far this year we have had three great sessions. The most recent was Laws of the Game. It was an opportunity to get clarity from expert presenters and brush up on law knowledge. It also provided some great discussion points. 

In October there were two topics for discussion: One was all about red card reporting and ensuring the process, when needed, is done correctly.  The main topic was Referee Teamwork as the domestic season in Ireland ramped up for AIL. The session began with a brief reminder about the role of touch judges in the domestic game. We then focused on improving the communication between the team of three when dealing with incidents of foul play. 

In September we held an education module on Positioning which is core to refereeing. Referees can only follow the officiating process to observe, analyse and decide if they are close to the action. To find their position in each situation of the game, they have to be equipped with a basic fitness and a sound knowledge of the Game. Positioning needs constant adaptations and the best position is never a fix-point but a constant strive for the ‘best possible’ solution in that particular game situation with regard to: The ball, The ball carrier, The opponent of the ball carrier, The position of the other players and The position on the pitch. Watch Chris Busby today and how he moves around the pitch to ensure he can make the correct decision.

These referee education modules and monthly area meetings are core to ensuring our referees are always up to date on laws of the game but also continuously learning and improving. Our national panel referees do a great job in delivering the content and it is always great to meet up with fellow referees. 

Seán Gallagher (Referee Development Manager) said, “It is very important that we consistently recruit, educate and develop match officials each season. Our aim is to ensure that we have enough referees to cover all the age-grade and adult games each week and to develop quality match officials who will progress through the IRFU Referee Pathway”.

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.