This article appeared in the Dragons Matchday Program
It was with great sadness that the learnt of the passing of our refereeing colleague, Damian Poder, on November 13th. It is always a difficult time when a member of our refereeing family passes away, and that Monday was no different. Damian was diagnosed with bladder cancer in October 2016. He underwent an 11 week period in hospital where he had extensive operations to remove the cancer. Sadly another tumor was found and more operations ensued. Damian battled them all with a smile, his sense of humor and good grace.
Damian was an avid sports fan, his two main loves being cricket and rugby. He was a member of Merrion cricket club since he arrived in Ireland from Australia in 1996. He played on the firsts and was club captain for 3 years running. He was also a member of our refereeing family for a number of years and everyone who met him benefited greatly from his presence. He had the perfect personality for refereeing and he will be greatly missed by us all. On behalf of all members of the ARLB our President Conor Byrne and the executive extend their deepest sympathies to his wife Ailish and son Cian. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.
Wooden Spoon Charity Dinner
Wooden Spoon is the children’s charity of rugby. From sensory rooms, specialist playgrounds and sports activity areas to respite, medical and community care, we fund around 70 projects each year that support disadvantaged and disabled children. Since our founding in 1983, we’ve distributed in excess of £24 million, helping over 1 million young people. On Friday 10th November last they hosted a charity dinner in Dublin, in honour of referees. In attendance on the night were a number of current and past referees including panellists Alain Rolland, World Rugby High Performance 15s Match Officials’ Manager, Alan Lewis, former international test referee and renowned cricketer, John West, former international referee, Stephen Hilditch, former international referee and Susan Carty, Leinster Rugby Referee. The event MC was former British and Irish Lion Fergus Slattery and a very enjoyable evening was had by all, with the obvious exchange of hilarious refereeing stories but more importantly a lot of money was raised for Wooded Spoon.
The IRFU’s Referees Department will place a renewed focus on existing foul play laws to remove illegal and dangerous collision based contact from domestic competitions in Ireland.
The areas of focus centre on foul play at the tackle, the breakdown and off-the-ball contact. These offences will be upgraded to penalties and yellow or red cards depending on the severity of the incident.
The aim of this initiative is to soften the impact of the tackle and ruck or maul entry by removing shoulder first or shoulder only contact. i.e. shoulder charging with no attempt or a late attempt to wrap arms upon contact. There will also be a renewed focus on protecting players in vulnerable or prone positions in rucks and mauls.
The law interpretations will be enforced in all competitions from U13 age grade through to the Ulster Bank League. Under the umbrella of the Ref SMART programme a series of instruction videos have been produced to inform coaches and players of the illegal actions that will be clamped down on this
season. These videos are available online at www.irishrugby.ie/rugbysmart
Finally, it is great to see the schools cup competitions kicking off again with the McMullen & Duff Cups. Wednesdays will be another busy time for referees coming up to Christmas.
The Leinster Referees always need more referees and opting to become one may be the best decision you’ve made for a long time. Feel free to make contact with the Leinster Rugby Referees through David O’Brien at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are interested in becoming a referee get in contact with us through our Facebook and Google + pages, our website www.arlb.ie or through twitter @leinsterreferee.