The ARCB began the new season last weekend when all referees, assessors, selectors and committee members met in Corinthians RFC for their annual pre-season meeting. Aidan Siggins from the club greeted the referees and kindly offered them a cup of tea, over which they had an opportunity to discuss their time away from rugby over the summer and how their rigorous fitness regimes were going as they prepared for the new season. Everybody was in good spirits and looking forward to getting back into rugby.
President Louis Cunningham opened the meeting and gave an update on the hard work that had been done during the summer, in preparation for the new season. John Carr, representing the Branch Competitions Committee outlined the league format, changes to the regulations and reemphasised the need for referees to familiarise themselves with the uncontested scrum regulations before taking to the pitch.
Honorary Secretary James Langan then highlighted the importance of following protocol on suspected concussion and serious injury, completing online match reports and directed the referees to some exemplar red card reports that have been uploaded to the ARCB website. Rugby Chairman Paul Gannon then outlined his simple and straightforward process for referee appointments, notifying unavailability and emphasised that he is always on the end of the phone to speak to referees who have issues during the season.
Louis Cunningham then outlined the plan for assessing referees this season, with better planning, increased numbers of assessments, more education of assessors, new assessment forms and the formation of development and focus groups for the season.
IRFU Referee Development Officer Seán Gallagher then presented the World Rugby Law Changes and Amendments to those in attendance. They mainly centred on refereeing the maul, breakdown and scrum. All referees will be given a second opportunity to digest these changes at the General Members Workshop on 01 September.
Seán then proceeded to present a new IRFU initiative on the application of the current foul play law. The objective of this initiative is to remove illegal collision based contact from the domestic game, thus producing safer contact situations. Referees were shown how using existing law to generate stringent zero tolerance of foul play offences at the tackle, ruck, maul and off the ball contact, could make the game safer.
Following lunch, the referees and assessors were put through their paces and completed an interactive breakdown workshop to improve their decision making for the new season. The meeting was then brought to a close.
- 18th August – Coaches Laws Workshop in The Connacht Hotel @ 7.00-9.00pm
- 31st August – Assessor’s Workshop in The Sportsground @ 7.30-9.30pm
- 01st September – General Member’s Workshop (Pre-Season Recap) in The Sportsground @ 8.00-9.00pm
- 11th September – New Referees Course – Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
- 12th September – Affiliate Referees Course – Contact email@example.com for details.