Leinster v Dragons
Six Nations, Communication and Control.
Its Six Nations time again and thankfully our elite referees Alain Rolland and Dudley Philips are in action again this year. It is of course Alain’s last Six nations and he will be looking to exit at his usual high standards.
Their fixtures and roles are as follows:
France v England Stade de France, Paris AR1 Alain Rolland (IRFU)
Wales v France Millennium Stadium, Cardiff Referee Alain Rolland (IRFU) AR2 Dudley Phillips (IRFU)
Of course the Women’s Six Nations rugby is also taking place with Helen O’Reilly officiating at two fixtures. Helen is refereeing superbly well at the moment and is eyeing a place at the Women’s World Cup.
Her fixtures are as follows:
France v England Grenoble Referee Helen O’Reilly
Wales v France Port Talbot (Cardiff) Referee Helen O’Reilly
We wish all our referees the best of luck in the tournament.
We spent the last month working through various aspects of communication with David O’Brien of the IRFU in our area workshops. Communication is a vital element of refereeing and an important skill to develop. Each referee’s personality will contribute to his skill in this area and therefore there will naturally be variance in approach from referee to referee. Good voice communication starts as soon as the referee arrives at the ground. Whistle and Signals are two of the other ways referees communicate. Have a look at the referee on the pitch today. He will aim to prevent penalties by effectively communicating with the players – e.g. roll away, release the ball, stay on your feet. Should an infringement occur he will whistle. Listen to the differing tones – soft pip for a knock on, loud blast for a penalty and so on. Finally, on an infringement, he will signal and penalty and the offence. We call these primary and secondary signals. Once he does this, everyone should understand what has happened. Referees continually work on these and the aim of our workshops was to help referees raise their communications standards.
We had our first member’s workshop of 2014 this week. The workshop, attended by over 80 referees was led by the IRFU and focused on three key areas:
a) Touch judging – the fundamentals
c) Match control
Touch judging becomes a big deal at this time of year as more cup matches come on board. We provided our referees a refresher course in the fine art of touch judging, moving through various scenarios. The control piece goes hand in hand with the communication and looks at control of players, control of the referee him or herself and control of the game. You often hear that ‘the referee lost control of the game’, mainly outside Leinster, and we work on scenarios to assist referees in keeping control. Effective communication helps here.
Finally, from the world of the iRB: The IRB have approved a trial for the use of Rugby Goggles for those with eye problems at all levels of contact rugby.
The Goggles are aimed at players with monocular vision or chronic eye conditions; with inclusion and player welfare underpinning the body’s decision.
“Rugby is a game for all and the IRB recognises that not everyone who needs corrective glasses can wear contact lenses, particularly children, so we have been collaborating with a leading manufacturer to design and rigorously test a pair of Rugby Goggles that will be safe and effective in a rugby environment,” said IRB Head of Technical Services Steve Griffiths.
“We believe we have done that now and this trial is good news for anyone with eyesight issues who wishes to play the game.”
The approved Rugby Goggles are not designed to provide extra protection for players with chronic eye conditions, but if such players consider them to be beneficial they can be worn for that purpose. Features of the approved Rugby Goggles include high-speed impact resistance, anti-abrasion surfaces, anti-fogging, UV protection and a specially designed strap with no clips, buckles or sharp edges. Only those Rugby Goggles bearing the IRB trial-approved logo can be worn with referees empowered to make the necessary checks.
The global law trial means that anyone can wear the Rugby Goggles once confirmation has been received from an ophthalmologist (or similar medical professional) although Unions are required to participate in the trial before a player under its jurisdiction can participate in the trial.
“If the trial is to be instructive, we will require feedback from all participants about the Rugby Goggles so all participants will be requested to provide feedback during and at the end of the trial,” added Griffiths.