Wednesday 24 January 2018

World Cup referees' success can be traced to grassroots

'Our existing crop of referees are also being fine-tuned via targeted workshops'
'Our existing crop of referees are also being fine-tuned via targeted workshops'

Damian Eames

As we reach the final stages of the World Cup pool games, it's noticeable that there has been very little discussion around any controversial decisions made by the match officials?

Okay, so there has been some noise around the hold-up to the natural flow of the game when the TMO has intervened.

For the most part, though, we are talking about the games, coaches and players.

The referees have had a good World Cup, and the level of officiating has not been achieved overnight. It can be traced back to the work of attracting, supporting and retaining referees at local provincial level.

Over the last four weeks, the Association of Referees Connacht Branch (ARCB), have run new Trail Member workshops for those who want to become part of the game.

Under the guidance of our full-time referee development officer Sean Gallagher, we have 12 new recruits who have embarked on their first steps to become an active referee in Connacht.

This group have a dedicated learning and supported coaching pathway to follow over the coming weeks.

Our existing crop of referees are also being fine-tuned via targeted workshops.

It is not just the laws of the game that require the highest levels of understanding. What is of equal importance is the when and where you should be as a referee. Workshops around positioning, scrum, maul, line out and tackle/ruck have all been pencilled in for the coming weeks.

We are also launching a new pilot scheme, in a bid to meet the increased demand for officials and facilitating those limited by the distances they can travel to referee - we are introducing Community Referees.

This new level of official will have the same training and support offered to ARCB referees. The only difference is that they will be ring-fenced to referee only youth and school games in a specific geographic area.


Current ARCB officials, known as pathway referees, will still be available to referee youth and schools games.

In addition they are able to progress and referee games across Senior and Junior leagues, be appointed as Touch Judge or 4th/5th official at National League, Inter Pro and Pro12 matches.

Interested in becoming an ARCB community referee or a pathway referee?

Our next in-take will start on November 28. For more details, please email or phone 086 1735096.

Irish Independent

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