Leinster Match Program – Article 7

This article appeared in the Northampton Saints match day program.

A warm welcome to Romain Poite and his team of Tual Trainini, Mathieu Noirot and Eric Briquet-Campin today. The Champions and Challenge Cup back to back weekend is one of the best fortnights of rugby in the year and also one of the busiest times for our referees. This weekend sees John Carvill in Glasgow assisting George Clancy, whilst Brian MacNeice is in the TMO box in Bordeaux. Dudley Phillips,      Helen O’Reilly and Kevin Beggs are in Stade Francias whilst Gary Conway is in Newcastle. Good luck to them all.

Foul Play

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.

Continue reading Leinster Match Program – Article 7

Law Clarification

As you may be aware there has been a lot of publicity over the last few weeks about new World Rugby directives on foul play, and more specifically about contact to the head area.

From a match officiating perspective there is to be no change in how you are to operate in terms of dealing with foul play. The guidelines we have in place are, as they always have been, where there is foul play contact to the head, it is a minimum of a PK.

Where two players collide/come together, and there is head contact, and you deem that it isn’t foul play, then that is play on. You should in making any comments on the incident desist from using the word “accidental”, as an accidental incident of foul play is now a PK.

I have also attached a Law Clarification which is now in place. There are no law changes until July 1st in the Northern Hemisphere.

A bit of North East Refereeing History

Last weekend a little bit of history was made for Ashbourne Rugby Club, North East Rugby and Leinster Rugby Referees.

A team of ARLB members, made up of Sean Gallagher (Navan RFC) officiating as AR1, Helen O’Reilly (Ashbourne Rugby Club) as AR2, and Kevin Beggs also of Ashbourne acting as TMO in Stade Jean Bouin, Paris. It was probably the first time that the officials supporting the referee were all originally from North East Area clubs officiating at an EPCR match together. The match was Stade Francais v Edinburgh and was in Stade Jean Bouin, Paris. The referee was also from IrishRugby and was Dudley Phillips.

It was a very hard match with round four of EPCR games often difficult as they are they second leg of a back to back fixture. There was six TMO calls to make so a busy night all round but Dudley and Kevin probably just liked to have a chat during the game!!

Well to done one and all and it shows that there is a great career in refereeing! Do not be shy and keep involved in refereeing and get to see the many great places around the world

New Recruits Course 2017

We will be holding a new recruits course on Saturday 21st January in Terenure College.
Anyone interested should make contact with me David O’Brien at david.obrien@irfu.ie .

Why become a referee?

  • Stay with the game as an alternative to playing.
  • Social – The social aspect of rugby is renowned. Refereeing is a great way to meet new people and make new friends.
  • Fitness – It is a fantastic way to keep fit. The IRFU have the highest level of expertise in this area.
  • Travel – The highest level you reach as a referee, the more involvement you will have at European Competitions, Guinness Pro 12 League and the Ulster Bank League
  • Referees ‘a club within a club’ who meet regularly for meetings. There’s a great team spirit.
  • Ambition – could you referee an international match?
  • Tickets – Referees are allowed to apply for international and provincial match tickets.

Mid Season Get Together

Looking for something in the New Year to shake off the post-Christmas blues????

We are delighted to announce that we will be hosting a Mid-Season get together in Seapoint RC on Thursday 12th January 2017 at 7:30pm.

There will be the usual fun & games with a bit of Law, a few War Stories, some housekeeping matters.

Food and refreshments will be provided and for those precious few not going dry for January, Seapoint will have the bar open.


Ref Smart

At the start of the current season the IRFU Referees Department placed a renewed focus on existing foul play laws to remove illegal and dangerous collision based contact from domestic competitions in Ireland.

RefSMART explains the focus that referees will place on removing dangerous play from the game. The video on this
page illustrates illegal and dangerous tackles that will be sanctioned by Referees in Irish Domestic Rugby.


  • All tacklers must attempt to grasp the ball carrier
  • shoulder-only tackle or shoulder-first tackle where there is a late or no attempt to grasp ball carrier and stiff-arm tackles are not permitted and will be sanctioned
  • aim is to reduce the risk of injury by removing these dangerous and illegal tackle situations from the game

1) All tackles must attempt to grasp opponents when executing a tackle
2) shoulder-only, shoulder-first and stiffarm tackle not permitted
3) Also continue to be a strong focus on high tackles, lift tackles and tackles in the air

Leinster Rugby Program – Article 6

The Metro Referees were delighted to welcome Marius van der Westhuizen to their meeting on Tuesday night. Marius was in Dublin to take charge of the Ireland v Canada game. It was great to have Marius at the meeting and he answered some questions in a thought provoking way.  For instance, when asked about maintaining concentration on the pitch, he talked about just focusing on the “next good decision” and not getting caught up in what had gone before.

When his training schedule allows, he still seeks out, and looks forward to, refereeing U 13 matches, which he treats with the same respect as a test match.  “For the players, it is every bit as important as a test match is to the test players.”  He also  uses U-13 matches to consciously work on minor tweaks to his own game, and experiment a bit, since the speed of top level rugby does not allow the time to do so.

Continue reading Leinster Rugby Program – Article 6

Metro Area Meeting


The next Metro area meeting is Tuesday Dec 6th in Clontarf Football Club (by kind permission). Last month’s meeting in Old Wesley had a record attendance of 48 people, so thank you to those you were able to attend, this month I would like to hit the 50 mark, so please do make the time to attend be you a referee or an assessor as it is very important for your game / assessments to attend to hear and learn about relevant topics for the season.


7:30 – 7:45 – Registration
7:45 – 7:50 – Welcome (Tom)
7:50 – 8:30 – David O’Brien and Dudley Phillips
8:30 – 8:40 – Kevin Beggs (Talking about all things related to IRFU Tag in 2017)
8:40 – 8:50 – Q&A
8:50 – 9:00 – Tom meeting up with Trialists.



This weeks Pro 12 and International Appointments

Canada v New Zealand
Wed 23/11/16 Donnybrook
Referee: Helen O Reilly
Touch Judge: Susan Carty
No. 5: Gary Glennon

Samoa v Canada
Fri 25/11/16 Grenoble
Touch Judge: Gary Conway

Scarlets v Leinster
Fri 25/11/16 Guinness Pro 12
Referee: Sean Gallagher

Ulster v Zebre
Fri 25/11/16 Guinness Pro 12
Touch Judge: Helen O Reilly
Assessor: Michael Carroll

Connacht v Cardiff Blues
Fri 25/11/16 Guinness Pro 12
Touch Judge: Brian MacNeice

Ireland v Australia
Sat 26/11/16 @ 17:30
Referee: Jerome Garces
AR1: JP Doyle
AR2: Craig Maxwell Keys
TMO: Eric Gauzins
Statistician: John Carvill
Time Keeper: Andrew Baird
SCO: Alan Rogan

France v New Zealand
Sat 26/11/16 International
Touch Judge: Dudley Phillips

Ireland v New Zealand
Sun 27/11/16 @ 14:00 UCD Bowl
Sub Referee: Helen O Reilly
Touch Judge: Susan Carty

Newport Gwent Dragons v Edinburgh Rugby
Sun 27/11/16 Guinness Pro 12
TMO: Brian MacNeice