ARLB Pre Match Guidelines

This is the start of monthly communications from the Rugby Department assisting referees to portray a more consistent and professional approach.

Please have a read of the ARLB Pre Match Guidelines document

This is also available in the documents page.

Paul Kavanagh RIP

It is with the deepest regret that we announce the passing of Paul Kavanagh.

‘PK’ was infamous in Suttonians RFC as a referee giving selflessly of his time to expertly ref games at all level’s. He was also active in other areas of the club. His passion for the game and his club were obvious to all who were lucky to have met him. He will be missed by all he encouraged to play the game, those he guided in their understanding of the rule of rugby. He loved seeing men and women, boys and girls play the game. He was always ready to officiate at any game and was a fixture at Suttonians Tag events.

There are so many of us who are numb with his passing and like so many people who have left this world too soon, he will not know how much he was loved by us all and will be missed deeply.
Rest in peace PK.

Funeral arrangements will follow.

Leinster Match Program – Article 2

This article appeared in the Ospreys Match Program

At the end of last season David MacDonald of Seapoint was elected President of the Leinster Rugby Referees. In accepting the Presidency David said “I am honoured to be elected President of the Association of Referees Leinster Branch for 2016/17.  This honour is magnified by my appreciation of my own mediocre career on the pitch.   Hopefully I have made, and will continue to make, a more valuable contribution off the pitch.”

Continue reading Leinster Match Program – Article 2

IRFU Referees to put Strong Focus on Penalising Foul Play in Domestic Game

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 should 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 instructional 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

Dave McHugh, IRFU’s Referee Performance Manager, said, “This is an important initiative in creating positive on-field habits and removing illegal contact from the domestic game.  Player welfare is a key focus in our game and the referees have a role to play as do the players and coaches.  By focusing in on these areas we hope to promote positive behaviours and eradicate dangerous foul play which in turn will have a positive impact on the playing experience at all levels of the domestic game.”

Law Wording Renewed Application
10.4 (a) Punching or striking. A player must not strike an opponent with the fist or arm, including the elbow, shoulder, head or knee(s). Focus to also apply to ball carrier.  Hand off must only be a push with hand.
10.4 (e)
Dangerous Tackle
A player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously. Applied as before with renewed focus.
A player must not tackle (or try to tackle) an opponent above the line of the shoulders even if the tackle starts below the line of the shoulders. A tackle around the opponent’s neck or head is dangerous play. Zero / low tolerance of high tackles or contact above shoulder height when making or attempting to make a tackle.
A ‘stiff-arm tackle’ is dangerous play. A player makes a stiff-arm tackle when using a stiff- arm to strike an opponent. Zero / low tolerance.  The tackler must attempt to grasp an opponent.
A player must not tackle an opponent whose feet are off the ground. Applied as before
10.4 (f) Playing an opponent without the ball. Except in a scrum, ruck or maul, a player who is not in possession of the ball must not hold, push or obstruct an opponent not carrying the ball. Must protect prone players without the ball. Zero / low tolerance. 
10.4 (g) Dangerous charging. A player must not charge or knock down an opponent carrying the ball without trying to grasp that player. “No arm tackle” Must be a legitimate attempt evident prior to and at the point of contact to grasp ball carrier.
10.4 (h) A player must not charge into a ruck or maul. Charging includes any contact made without use of the arms, or without grasping a player. Player joining ruck or maul must make effort to bind on a teammate or opponent.
10.4 (j) Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst that player’s feet are still off the ground such that the player’s head and/or upper body come into contact with the ground is dangerous play. Tackler: Refereed as before with Zero / Low Tolerance.
Ball carrier: Can only push an opposition player. Ball carrier cannot lift defender off the ground and drop or drive defender to ground.



David Keane Appointed To World Rugby Sevens Referee Selector Role


Metro Meeting

May I welcome you to the new season and wish that you have a great season. Below is the notice of the first Metro Area Meeting of the season. Look forward to seeing you at it. Again, as in previous years, if you have any questions / issues please feel free to reach out to me at or at 0863859540.


Venue: Bective Rangers

Time: 19:30 to 21:00

Date: Tuesday 13th September



19:30 to 19:45 – Tea / Coffee – Registration

19:45 to 20:00 – Tom (Welcome to the next season)

20:00 to 20:40 – David O’Brien – Presentation

20:40 to 21:00 – Q&A

Leinster Match Program – Article 1

This article appeared in the Treviso match program.

2015/16 Season Review.

At the start of last season Wayne Sheridan of Old Wesley RFC was elected President of the Leinster Rugby Referees. Wayne, a current active citing commissioner on the PRO 12 and European circuit is a former IRFU National Panel referee and father to Glenn who is currently on the National Panel (albeit in Connacht, but we won’t hold that against him). Gary Conway started the season refereeing at the World Rugby U20 Championship.  Dudley Phillips was busy at the Pacific Nations Cup where he touch judged a number of games. Tim Townend who was promoted to the IRFU National Referees panel and Helen O’Reilly who was promoted to the ‘A’ Panel in the summer panel appointments. It was also a busy summer for out kit men – Dan Wallace and Kevin Beggs with the help, as always of Denis Collins. We were delighted to welcome Bank of Ireland on board as our new kit sponsor.

Continue reading Leinster Match Program – Article 1

Weekend PRO12 Officials


Munster vs Cardiff Blues
@ Irish Independent Park
Referee: Ian Davies (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Craig Evans (Wales), Nigel Correll (Ireland)
TMO: Jim Yuille (Scotland)

Glasgow Warriors vs Leinster
@ Scotstoun Stadium
Referee: Johnny Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Dan Jones (Wales), Dunx McClement (Scotland)
TMO: Gareth Simmonds (Wales)

Treviso vs Ulster
@ Stadio Monigo
Referee: Dudley Phillips (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Sam Grove-White (Scotland), Simone Boaretto (Italy)
TMO: Charles Samson (Scotland)