New Year Fitness Resolutions

It’s the mid-point in the season and also the time of year for setting (and keeping) your fitness resolutions.

Here’s some tips for keeping your fitness training going in the colder months of the year and in preparation for the big games that come as leagues come closer to their conclusion, the cup competitions start and fitness tests creep up!!

  1. Set realistic targets – at a minimum it should be two sessions per week (not including games)
  2. Plan your sessions – there are lots of sample sessions on the Leinster Rugby Referee fitness page
  3. Train together – find a clubmate or local training group. There’s one in Terenure College RFC every Tuesday and Thursday evening from 6.30 – 8.00 for all levels and all are welcome. It’s on the new all-weather too so no dirty boots before the weekend.
  4. Keep it regular – put the times in your diary. Maybe it’s every Tuesday and Thursday or whatever suits you. It’s harder to cancel when it’s in the diary.
  5. Track your progress – keep a note of your sessions and fitness scores. Nothing motivates like success.
  6. Reward yourself – achieve your goals then reward yourself. Maybe it’s a couple of pints or a curry or maybe a night out.
  7. Tomorrow is a new day – if it isn’t happening today don’t beat yourself up, just move on to tomorrow and make sure you work extra hard then.
  8. Talk about it – if you’re struggling for motivation or can’t find information to improve your fitness contact Hitchy (Paul Haycock) on
  9. Remember getting fit takes time – getting fit and staying fit is a long-term goal so don’t give up if you don’t reach your ultimate goals within a short space of time.
  10. Test yourself regularly – do the fitness test which is a 1km run on the pitch. Timed 10 lengths of a standard rugby pitch and keep track of your scores. Send your scores to Hitchy too so we can build up a bank of data of scores.

Leinster Match Program – Article 8

Leinster v Connacht

Happy New Year!!! 2016 promises to be another great year of rugby and a great year for the Leinster Rugby Referees. Here’s hoping some of our refs may make an Olympic debut in Rio whilst others may continue to climb the ladder towards the top.


Leinster Rugby Referees held ‘An Evening with Alain Rolland’ in Clontarf FC on Tuesday 8th December organized by PRO Dan Wallace and Metro Representative Thomas Keating. Alain has had a hugely successful refereeing career – a World Cup Final, Heineken Cup finals, countless European games and of course 40 plus Leinster and 3 Irish caps. Alain spoke about his rugby career, his accidental move into an amazing refereeing career and his life, as portrayed in his fabulous book – The Whistle Blower: The Alain Rolland Story. Alain kindly began the evening by meeting with the new trial referees. He answered many questions covering the breakdown, materiality, positioning, and the balance required by a referee between being vocal and not speaking at all, something which he mastered throughout his refereeing career.  He imparted key tips on the scrum from his experience to assist the trial referees in seeing the telltale signs of problems with the scrum amongst other things. This was invaluable experience for the trial referees to tap into a referee who has seen it all and refereed at the very top of the game, most notably the World Cup Final in 2007.

Alain then held an open talk with members of the Leinster Rugby Referees, and proceed to talk about his career in rugby and his life and he gave some excellent insights. AR3He started off talking  about how he became a referee, which was an accident; he was down in Stradbook, home of Blackrock College RFC, when the referee that was appointed for the Third A game failed to turn up, and he was asked to referee the game, a game that would lead him eventually to referee the World Cup Final.

Alain went on to speak about how he progressed up through the ranks, and did that quickly, literally within 3 years he was refereeing his first international test match in Wales. AR2Alain finish his career by refereeing the Heineken Cup final of 2014 between Toulon and Saracens. He talked about how he prepared for the games and the commitment a referee needs to give, especially to a World Cup competition, a referee can be away up to 57 days from home. Alain’s most memorable game he refereed was South Africa v New Zealand in Pretoria in 2003, for him this was a game where New Zealand played the “complete” game of rugby, running out 54-16 victors.

Alain went into many other stories and comical moments in his referee career, not to spoil it, you can read all about it in his book. He spoke about how fortunate it was for him to get the opportunity to referee, Leinster v Munster back in 2014 in the Pro12, it was another case of the referee assigned not being able to referee the game, and there was Alain again, just like when he started his career in the right place at the right time.

Following a lengthy Q&A session with those that attended, Alain closed the evening with a fitting tribute to Jonah Lomu (1975 – 2015), remembering back when Jonah was playing in the Sevens Rugby, in particular in Hong Kong when the New Zealand played Fiji in the final, and how the full back from Fiji team allegedly said prior to the game that Jonah was “average”, well when Jonah was faced with only the try line and the full back, he proceeded to go through the full back, score the try and even have the time on the way back to ask “How average was that?” to the full back as he lay prone on the ground!

Many thanks to Alain for giving up his time, something which he continually does for the Leinster Rugby Referees. He is a referee that is sorely missed, by most, on the pitch, but is still educating referees at the highest level. IMG_3866His book is The Whistle Blower: The Alain Rolland Story available in all good bookshops in case Santa forgot to deliver!!!

If you are interested in becoming a referee and getting the New Year off to a good start, get in contact with us through our facebook and Google + pages, our website or through twitter @leinsterreferee.



Leinster Match Program – Article 7

Leinster v Toulon

Happy Holidays to all. With Christmas the domestic season takes a short break but for our National Panel referees the break is a short one. Many will be coming off EPRC games in Europe and will be straight into the Guinness Pro 12 Christmas season. In European action this weekend : Dudley Philips – Sales Sharks v Castres with Paul Haycock running the line for Dudley. Gary Conway is in Brive v Enisei, whilst Brian MacNeice and Kevin Beggs, two European veterans are in Pau v Newport Gwent Dragons assisting Andrew Brace.

Continue reading Leinster Match Program – Article 7

Law changes: Possibilities

At present it seems that there are not really any changes to the laws though there are several envisaged.

It has become usual that there are changes after each world cup with a moratorium on changes for the rest of the four-year period. (The moratorium, it seems, is a pious myth as numerous ‘clarifications/rulings’ happen instead which have the force of laws and rugby continues to muddle along.

Countries can now put their names down to test out proposed changes. Such testing is known in Australia, England, France, Wales and in four of World Rugby’s competitions – Nations Cup, Pacific Nations Cup, Tbilisi Cup and Under-20 Trophy.

The World Rugby competitions will try out all the possible changes. They will be selectively trues in Australia’s National Rugby Championship, the Army Premiership in England, France’s Academy League, New Zealand’s National Provincial Championship and in Wales the Premiership and the Colleges Championship.

Clearly other countries will join in as they deem fit.

We shall go through the proposed changes as they appear in the law book. The big ones are the referees, the tackle, maul and the scrum. Mind you all law changes are important. After all it is the laws that give the game its inner distinctive beauty – make it different from tiddlywinks. Change the laws and you change the game.

And what about a five-metre drop out?

As the experiments go along, those playing guinea pig will report and reports will be examined by three World Rugby working committees (Law Review Group, the Scrum Steering Group and the Multi-Disciplinary Injury Prevention Group), then by the Rugby Committee and then by the executive of World Rugby. Law changes my be approved as late as November 2018.

Continue reading Law changes: Possibilities

Leinster Match Program – Article 6

Leinster v Ulster

Champions Cup Officiating.

The European season is well and truly underway. The arrival of the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup see Leinster Rugby Referees dispersed all over Europe. We generally see our referees being sent to games in the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup as teams of three or more. This means that an Irish referee will typically have two touch judges from Ireland with him and most likely the TMO will also be Irish. This is obviously important in terms of getting communication on the field right but also helps in putting a referee at ease when he is working with colleagues familiar to him. Last weekend there were no fewer than 17 Irish officials in action across Europe.

Continue reading Leinster Match Program – Article 6

Leinster Match Program – Article 5

Leinster v Wasps

Firstly welcome to Mathieu Raynal, todays match referee. It is truly great to see him in Dublin. Two years ago Mathieu, not that he needs to be reminded, was the referee for the Montpellier home game against Racing Métro in the 2012–13 Top 14 season. On the 56th minute, he was caught between two rugby players, and later scans reveled he had a double fracture to his tibia and fibula. Horrific, but he bounced back and he is here today.


So what is it like starting out as a referee? Learning to referee rugby games is largely a trial by fire process. On the field there is only one referee (although there may be a few on the sidelines), that referee cannot change a decision once made, and no-one else can help you (although they can complain.)

To start, you need a whistle obviously, a watch, a law book, a few cards red and yellow in colour, a thick skin, and a love for the game of rugby. You’d be surprised how often referees forget things like whistles and cards running on to the pitch. You get caught up trying to get everything else right and forget the minor, import details.

Continue reading Leinster Match Program – Article 5

RBS Women’s 6 Nations 2016 referee appointments revealed

6 August 2015; Referee Helen O'Reilly. Leinster Rugby Branch Referee Photos. Bective Rangers, Donnybrook, Dublin. Picture credit: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE *** NO REPRODUCTION FEE ***

World Rugby have unveiled the appointments for the RBS Women’s 6 Nations in February and March next year. Again, the world’s leading female officials will be in Europe to control the series, many of whom will have an eye towards the Rio Olympics next summer.

Helen O’Reilly will referee Scotland v France on march 11th.

Colm Roche selected for World Rugby Dubai 7’s

Congratulations to Leinster Rugby Referee old boy Colm Roche who has been selected in the panel of World Rugby referees for the Dubai 7’s. Colm will be assistant referee for the World Rugby 7’s World Series competition in Dubai and will officiate at the invitational tournament in Dubai also.


Colm moved over to Dubai a number of months ago and has since been refereeing under the guidance of UAE Rugby.


The next David Keane? Maybe.

An evening with Alain Rolland

Leinster Rugby Referees are delighted to invite all members to ‘An Evening with Alain Rolland’.


Date: Tuesday 8th December

Venue: Clontarf RFC

Time: 8pm

Alain will be speaking about his rugby career, his accidental move into an amazing refereeing career and his life, as portrayed in his fabulous new book – The Whistle Blower: The Alain Rolland Story.

Alain will have some copies of his book available also.

All welcome.