Referees Corner – Issue 5 – Connacht – 2021/22

December 11, 2021 in News


Welcome to another edition of Referees Corner. A warm welcome to Chris Busby and his referring team. Chris is a member of the IRFU High Performance referee team and has been rising steadily through the ranks over recent years. He made his Pro14 refereeing debut on 9 October 2020 refereeing the match between Zebre and Dragons. He recently refereed Russia v Chile and was AR2 for Portugal v Japan.

On the domestic refereeing front we have had a very busy start to the season this year in the Metropolitan Area. Our referees were back on the pitch from mid August with the early season cups.  We had teams of 3 in most of the cup competitions.  It is great to work as a team of 3 as normally you are on your own doing a match with club appointed touch judges, so to work with your colleagues in a game is always a welcome experience.

In the Metro Area there are currently 133 referees and 13 trainee referees.  Referees across the province are broken down into Panels: Panel A to Panel F. Each panel is assigned games in different leagues, for example Panel A referees look after games in Leinster League Div 1A/1B, JP Flanagan U20s Div 1 and 2 and Metro 1.  Panel A also looks after Sub Referee duties for AIL Div1A/1B and Women’s AIL.

On any given weekend referees are selected to adult games by their Panel Managers and to Youth games by their Area Representative, so for example they could be doing an u13s boys game, u 18 girls game or an adult game on a weekend.  Some referees may do a game on a Saturday and a game on a Sunday.

When a trainee referee comes into the organisation they are mentored and then given a game where they are looked at and evaluated.  The evaluator will then recommend them to become a full member of the association once the evaluator feels they have met the required standard.  They will be given development points to work on and their name is put forward to the Leinster Rugby Referees Executive for election. Once elected, they are then presented with their Leinster Rugby Referees jersey.  They then move into Panel F where they will get further mentoring and evaluation before they are then moved into a Panel that suits their ability as a referee.   So far this season in Metro we have had 10 trainee referee become full members and we welcomed 13 new trainee referees to Metro after the last new members workshop in October.

Referees can be moved then through the panels depending on their abilities and their evaluation reports. There is a Development Panel, will falls under the remit of the Panel A managers, which aims to develop referees with potential to get to referee at AIL and beyond. Development Panel members can then progress onto IPAS. IPAS is an interprovincial programme where development referees from each province with potential to become referees at AIL go outside their province and are evaluated on game by other provincial evaluators.  The IRFU then collate the reports and decide on which referees they wish to promote to AIL referees. From there within the IRFU ranks they can become involved in United Cup Championships, Heineken Cup, Rugby Europe and World Rugby appointments. Plenty of opportunity for improvement and progression through the ranks. 

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.

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.