Europe's top referees and referee managers met in London on Thursday for the annual Northern Hemisphere IRB High Performance Referee Conference.
Under the central theme of global and consistent performance, the meeting provided an opportunity to consider refereeing best practice and establish key focus areas as momentum builds towards the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
With the RBS 6 Nations Championship reaching its conclusion last weekend, IRB Referee Manager Paddy O'Brien reiterated the need for consistent and universal application of law in five key areas, in accordance with directives issued to all Unions in November 2009:
a) refereeing of offsides at the ruck b) offside from kicks c) illegal maul formation causing obstruction d) slowing down of scrum engagement sequence e) accuracy of application of the tackle law
O'Brien said: "The Northern Hemisphere meeting is a key element of the referee feedback and training process and enables us to review performances as a team, consider the latest trends in the game and reiterate the key focus areas to ensure consistency.
"The meeting forms part of an integrated cross-hemisphere approach, with the same review process scheduled for Southern Hemisphere-based referees and referee managers in July in order to review performance and further promote global consistency of the application of law at Test and national competition level."
The IRB's high performance referees have agreed to be extra vigilant in the area of scrum resets and associated infringements at the elite level of the game where the issue is more prominent.
"The referees have been reminded of their obligation to penalise clear and obvious offences at the scrum in order to address the number of resets and to insist on a zero tolerance policy to players who fail to follow the referee's calling of the engagement procedure," added O'Brien.
You've finished training but what should you eat to help your body to recover? Getting the balance right is all important so check out #Eat2Compete and download the factsheets on www.irishrugby.ie/eat2compete.
Eating the right food is only one part of nutrition for young players. Hydration is a key element. How much? How often? Check out our #Eat2Compete guide to hydration and download the factsheets from www.irishrugby.ie/eat2compete.
Simple tips for young players to keep healthy throughout the season - 'Eat Well, Stay Well, Play Well' - it will benefit you on and off the field. For more check out #Eat2Compete or www.irishrugby.ie/eat2compete
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The Ireland squad got their first taste of the new Canterbury training kit with new sponsor Three on board. Check out the gear as Cian Healy, Tommy Bowe and Devin Toner give us their thoughts and register for updates on shop.irishrugby.ie.
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