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)

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Annual Dinner 2014 Award Winners

Terry Doyle Club of the Year Award: Lansdowne FC
Harold Ardil Referee of the Year: Gary Conway (New Ross RFC)
Ham Lambert Lifetime Achievement Award: Brendan Lynch (Naas RFC)

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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.

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Our female officials shining through.

Aoife McCarthy, Susan Carty, Leah Berard, Helen O’Reilly and Gary Glennon – Ireland v Italy Match Officials on International Women’s Day. 4 Leinster Rugby Referees

Match Officials

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Leinster Rugby Referees Annual Dinner

Lansdowne Football Club

Saturday 22nd March 2014

7.30pm for 8.00pm

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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.


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Leinster Match Program Article 8

Leinster v Ospreys

Happy New Year, it is amazing how fast a rugby season goes. We’re half way through our 2013/14 season and already a number of new referees have passed their trials, embarked on a new refereeing career and we are about to deliver our second new recruits course of the season. Our organization is continually growing learning and improving and we look forward to 2014, and delivering more top quality referees and assessors to Leinster and the world.

Earlier last year, at the start of the season, I wrote about the changes in the scrum law. Interestingly enough the International Rugby Board has introduced, with immediate effect, a change to its scrumming procedure, eliminating the referee’s verbal ‘Yes, Nine’ call but retaining the referee’s control of when the ball is fed into the scrum. It is a slight change – more how than what. The ‘Yes, Nine’ call has been seen as a call to action for the team not putting in the ball. Now the referee will find another means, communicated to the teams before the match, of telling the scrumhalf when to put the ball in – dropping or lifting a hand, giving a nod to or touching the scrumhalf – that sort of thing.

The statement sent by Joël Jutge, the IRB’s refereeing boss, reads: ‘Up to now, the referee has been asked to tell the scrum-half that the scrum is ready for the put-in by the use of the phrase “yes nine”. But following an initial review, including consultation with national coaches and referee managers, it has been decided that referees will adopt a non-verbal communication to scrumhalves for the introduction of the ball. This is in accordance with the relevant law (20.5 Throwing the Ball Into the Scrum).

‘The change is effective immediately and will include this week’s Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup matches in the northern hemisphere (January 9-12). It will also include the next rounds of other elite competitions, including the Top 14 in France (January 24), Aviva Premiership in England (February 7-9) and the Rabo Direct Pro 12 in other parts of Europe (February 7-9).

‘As with the original protocol, it is up to individual Unions to decide whether this change will be adopted at levels below Elite Rugby.’ The IRB is reluctant to do away with referee control altoegtehr as that could revert to early pushing which it seeks to avoid so that scrums are stable and stationary before the ball is put in.

Law 20.1 (j) Stationary and parallel. Until the ball leaves the scrum half’s hands, the scrum must be stationary and the middle line must be parallel to the goal-lines. A team must not shove the scrum away from the mark before the ball is thrown in.

Sanction: Free Kick

Referee control of the put-in seeks to ensure that this law is complied with.


No Delay. As soon as the front rows have come together, the scrumhalf must throw in the ball without delay. The scrum half must throw in the ball when told to do so by the referee. The scrumhalf must throw in the ball from the side of the scrum first chosen.

Sanction: Free Kick

All that has changed now is how the referee tells the scrumhalf when to put the ball in. The hope that it makes for better scrumming and eliminates a reason to free kick teams.

The International Rugby Board has also announced the referee appointments for the Women’s Six Nations Championship 2014. Leinster and Ireland referee Helen O’Reilly has been making great strides in world refereeing throughout 2013 and has again been rewarded for her excellent performances.

Appointments were made by the IRB match official selection committee, following a detailed review of recent performances.

The Women’s Six Nations, which kicks off on 31 January 2014 and concludes on 16 March, will see nine referees take charge of 15 matches with Nicky Inwood, Helen O’Reilly, Claire Hodnett, Christine Bigaran, Sherry Trumbull and Leah Berard being appointed to two matches each.

The full list of referees for the Women’s Six Nations 2014 is: Jess Beard (New Zealand), Leah Berard (USA), Christine Bigaran (France), Claire Hodnett (England), Nicky Inwood (New Zealand), Marlize Jordaan (South Africa), Helen O’Reilly (Ireland), Amy Perrett (Australia) and Sherry Trumbull (Canada).

Referee preparation for the Six Nations championship included a three-day camp in Marcoussis, France, which is a host venue for the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 in October.

The camp mirrored the gathering for their male counterparts held last August at the same venue. The schedule included a series of preparation sessions, ranging from the consistent management of the ‘crouch, bind, set’ scrum engagement trial to an extensive fitness monitoring programme.


Round 1

1 February

France vs England in Grenoble

Referee: Helen O’Reilly

Round 3

23 February:

Wales vs France in Port Talbot

Referee: Helen O’Reilly

The assistant referees will be from the host country.


We welcome your comments on how to improve and serve the game better through our website or twitter @leinsterreferee or facebook or visit us at


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Respected Rolland retires at the top

Respected Rolland retires at the top

By James Fitzgerald

It started with a trip across the Irish Sea to Cardiff in 2001 and it will finish the same way. During those intervening years, Alain Rolland has become one of the most respected and admired match officials of the modern era over the course of an international career that will come to an end this Friday night for what will be his 66th Test match.

Leinster Rugby Referees Photo Shoot / Subaru Sponsorship

His first international nearly 13 years ago ended with an 81-9 victory for the home team over Romania and while Wales may not have things quite so easy on Friday against France, Rolland will still be applying his vast experience, empathy for the Game and attention to detail to ensure a fair contest for the players.

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IRFU – Referees Golf – All Welcome

Please note that the referees golf this year will be on Friday 2nd May once more in Douglas Golf Club.

Rooms are held in the Rochestown Park Hotel, as per previous years, however these will need to be booked quickly as its a bank holiday and also Katie Taylor is fighting there that night (in the hotel, not the golf club).

If interested please contact Dave McHugh directly at

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Touch Judging and Control Presentation for General Meeting

This can be downloaded from the site here

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