10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations match in February, while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
He played soccer in college but main sport is triathlon and marathon running.
Born in Limerick, a fifth generation undertaker and brother of Ger The Box' Griffin, his other brother is secretary of Garryowen and he takes up the story of how he switched allegiance.
My father and uncles played with Garryowen and Shannon and Uncle Paddy played for Rest of Ireland and captained Munster teams. Rugby skipped a generation when it came to our house. The switch of allegiance came about that there were too many doctors in Garryowen when I came to town and Young Munsters kept asking me to put a stitch in here and a stitch in there." " Finally they turned to me and said, 'we've nobody else butya' and there's been no other doctor there but me for 22 years."
" So it's amazing when you feel wanted and they look after you in the line of, they're just very emotionally honest people and you see what you get."
"My father, before he died, he died very young, but he died a Young Munster man and my mother didn't know she was paying the sub to Young Munster for about 10 years
And did it bother her? " No.not really she just didn't know.
He's been a GP for 25 years. His wife is a physical therapist and they have four children. Griffin's demeanour brighens when he talks abiut his girls.
"Twenty seven year old Ciara is a computer programmer, amongst many things. Laoise is a doctor starting general practice in Limerick this July. Murna is a sports specialist (rehab) and physiotherapist. Shona started physical therapy but she's now going off to do sports science and nutrition in Strawberry Hill in London in the summer. She just got a place there yesterday. So there's a very strong emphasis on sport in the house.
And there is no disguising his pride in his daughters when he talks about them.
My practice is where my father was born, in John's Square, it's inner city Limerick. I work as well in the National coaching and Training centre as Medical Officer of NCTC and I run the GP training programme as well in UL. So I've always had more than one job. It's been a facet of the way I've lived really, to have eggs in a few baskets so that if one basket goes down you don't feel too bad.
The Irish job came at a good time, when my family was reared and my wife would have started working with me and they actually encourage me to stick with it when my heart would want to head back to the practice. But my wife and I compete in triathalons together and that would be our hobby. We like to hill-walk and will go off to Austria for a week when I get back. I have a boat up on Lough Corib with my father-in-law JimmyO'Kelly from Galway."
I like to play the piano, the bodhran, sing a song, listen to music, read a book, and write a poem. That kinda thing. It helps me reflect.
"The involvement is easier on tour than at home. At home you have to hold down the day job and the players are all over the place. So it's hard to keep tabs on them."
" On tour, the players are all literally under one roof. I would be on 24 hour call but people are very understanding of your time and don't make too much demands and being on tour is quite enjoyable, quite rewarding particularly if you get a win or two."
And his views on New Zealand?
First time here. It's a very quaint place. Not at all caught up in consumerism. They're very few cars which is huge bonus traffic-the wise and the countryside is absolutely fantastic.
So he's enjoying the trip? Is he what!
The word I'd use is self actualizing." says a smiling and contented Griffin.
As team medical officer he is responsible for all medical matters such as infections, injuries, rashes, dental and psychological. His primary responsibility is to the player and after that to the team and the IRFU. His brief under drug/doping testing, includes education, monitoring and testing.
Typical day for Mick Griffin sees him rise at 7.30 am to check on whatever injury worries there are before the management meeting at 8.30am. He will supply a written report on the players who are out, those who are to have no contact and any other information previously requested. He will then attend the training session with first aid resuscitation among his main responsibilites and is available for consultation for the rest of the day. He will meet formally with physio Ailbe McCormack and masseur Shaun Gilmore at least twice during the day and pays particular tribute to this pair for their help,