Referees Corner – Issues 9 – Cardiff – 2022/23

January 28, 2023 in News

A warm welcome to today’s issue of Referees Corner. Today’s match official team is Gianluca Gnecchi (FIR) in the middle, ably assisted by Joy Neville and Stuart Douglas with Italy’s Stefano Roscini in the TMO box.


Gianluca Gnecchi was born in Brescia Italy, famous for Franciacorta sparkling wine. He refereed in Italy and in the Six Nations Under 20s Championship before making his Pro14 refereeing debut in the match between Zebre and Benetton on 30 August 2020, where he was assisted by fellow Brescian referee Andrea Piardi. Gnecchi refereed the 2023 Rugby World Cup qualifiers in South America, refereeing the match between Brazil and Chile on 11 July 2021. We wish him and the team well today. 


Leinster Rugby Referees held a New Referees Course in the Riverside Park Hotel, Enniscorthy on Saturday 14, January 2023. The course was open to those aged 18 – 59, who would like to take up refereeing as a hobby and become members of Leinster Rugby Referees. We had a turnout of almost 20 new referees. One important factor in this course was that it was the first one to be held outside of Dublin and in the South East. President Gordon Condell said he was delighted with the great turnout, the enthusiasm and wished those new referees well in their upcoming refereeing careers. Sean Gallagher led the session and talked the referees through the finer points of refereeing, the laws, and the art of refereeing. Referees will receive mentoring and support on an ongoing basis once they begin the trial member process. This will include three follow up workshops which usually run for 90 minutes once a month. Progression to full membership is based on a combination of ability, commitment and fitness.

We held our mid-season seminar on Tuesday 17th January in the Green Isle Hotel. Over 100 of our active referees attended the course. Mick Dawson, former CEO of Leinster Rugby, and honorary Leinster Rugby Referee was the special guest and spoke about his time at Leinster from the beginning in Donnybrook to the fantastic club it has become today. He took the time out to answer some of the referee’s questions ranging from European Competitions to his favorite memories at Leinster. Sean Gallagher introduced some IRFU content, law updates and also helped Dave MacDonald run some round table discussion on the future and enhancing Leinster Rugby Referees. A great night was had by all, it is alway a pleasure for our referees to be able to connect with each other. 

Recently, Leinster Referee Dave Wilson and his daughter Hannah Wilson traveled to South Africa recently for Hannah to take part in a Tens Tournament in Johannesburg and Capetown. Hannah had just finished her second year playing on the Leinster U18 Girls Rugby team and also got her first cap playing on the Irish U18 Girls Rugby team in the Six Nations Tournament in Murrayfield. 

During the trip to South Africa, all the players and coaches involved in the tournament got the chance to visit local townships outside Johannesburg and Capetown as part of the community work that was such an integral part of the trip. Dave as a Leinster Rugby Referee brought two large Leinster kit bags with gear, one for each of the townships that they were to visit. Dave said 

“ If ever there was a moment that pictures speak a thousand words well this was one of those moments “.  

One of the coaches involved in the Tens Tournament was the “King of Sevens”, the one and only Waisale Serevi. He was made an “Honorary Leinster Rugby Referee” during this trip and received his kit from Dave Wilson, Waisale is just awaiting his first appointment from Hayley White! You can read more on the trip on our website 


Want to get involved? 

Referees provide a vital function in servicing all levels of the game. Whether you aspire to referee at the highest level or to referee locally, there is a place for you. There are excellent support structures to develop referees and a thriving social aspect too. 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.