European quarter-final referees named

Nigel Owens will referee the Heineken Cup quarter-final between Munster and Toulouse on Saturday, 5 April.

The referees for the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup and the Amlin Challenge Cup have been announced following a meeting of the ERC Match Officials sub-committee.

The meeting reviewed match official performances across all relevant tournaments in conjunction with feedback from the referee managers in each Union and from club coaching staff.

Alain Rolland has been appointed to referee the Anglo-French confrontation at Stade Marcel-Michelin between last season’s beaten finalists, Clermont Auvergne, and Leicester Tigers, while Jerome Garces will be in the middle for Ulster’s showdown with Saracens at Ravenhill Stadium.

Heineken cup quarter-finals

Saturday, 5 April

Munster v Toulouse, Thomond Park
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wal)
Assistant referees: JP Doyle (Eng);Neil Hennessy (Wal)
TMO: Derek Bevan (Wal)

Clermont Auvergne v Leicester Tigers, Stade Marcel-Michelin
Referee: Alain Rolland (Ire)
Assistant referees: George Clancy (Ire);David Wilkinson (Ire)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ire)

Ulster v Saracens, Ravenhill Stadium
Referee: Jerome Garces (Fra)
Assistant referees: Mathieu Raynal (Fra);Cedric Marchat (Fra)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (Fra)

Sunday, 6 April

Toulon v Leinster, Stade Felix Mayol
Referee: Wayne Barnes (Eng)
Assistant referees: Greg Garner (Eng);Luke Pearce (Eng)
TMO: Graham Hughes (Eng)

Amlin Challenge Dup quarter-finals

Thursday, 3 April

Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints, AJ Bell Stadium
Referee: Romain Poite (Fra)
Assistant referees: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ire);Neil Paterson (Sco)
TMO: Ian Ramage (Sco)

Friday, 4 April

Stade Français Paris v Harlequins, Stade Jean Bouin
Referee: Leighton Hodges (Wal)
Assistant referees: Ian Davies (Wal); Andrew McMenemy (Sco)
TMO: Gareth Simmonds (Wal)

Sunday, 6 April

Bath v Brive, Recreation Ground
Referee: John Lacey (Ire)
Assistant referees: Dudley Phillips (Ire);Sean Gallagher (Ire)

TMO: Jim Yuille (Sco)

London Wasps v Gloucester, Adams Park
Referee: Pascal Gauzere (Fra)
Assistant referees: Marius Mitrea (Ita);Laurent Cardona (Fra)
TMO: Alan Falzone (Ita)

Planet Rugby | Interview: Nigel Owens

Planet Rugby | Interview: Nigel Owens.

Rarely does the man in the middle get a mention unless it’s for the wrong reasons, but a good referee is a vital ingredient to any decent game of rugby.

Three of the best Test matches in recent memory, South Africa v New Zealand and Ireland v New Zealand in 2013, and the France v England clash earlier this year had one striking similarity.

The man officiating was Welshman Nigel Owens, who this weekend makes his 50th Test appearance when he officiates in Dublin on Saturday.

Continue reading Planet Rugby | Interview: Nigel Owens

Leinster Match Program Article 9

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

b)     Grading

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.