Irish international referee John Lacey has decided to retire from Test match officiating to take up a high performance referee coaching and talent identification role with the IRFU.
One of the most capped Test referees in Irish Rugby history, John Lacey has taken charge of 37 senior international matches between 2010 and 2018, and officiated four matches at the 2015 Rugby World Cup tournament.
The 45-year-old Tipperary native will take charge of his final Test match when Argentina face the Barbarians at Twickenham on Saturday, December 1. He will continue to officiate at PRO14 and European level until the end of the current season before taking up his new position with the IRFU.
World Rugby Match Officials Selection Panel Chairman Anthony Buchanan led the tributes to Lacey, who represented Clanwilliam, Sunday’s Well, Shannon, Munster and the Ireland Sevens and ‘A’ teams before taking up the whistle.
Buchanan commented: “John has been an outstanding servant of international officiating over a eight-year period, winning 37 caps and many friends along the way as a match official who always gave 100% to the cause.
“In particular, as a senior member of the international panel in recent years, he has played a strong role in mentoring and supporting the younger members of the group and it is these qualities that will be to the fore as he begins an exciting new chapter in his career. Everyone at World Rugby wishes him well.”
Dudley Phillips, IRFU Head of Referees, said: “John has been a leading member of the IRFU Referee Panel for a number of years and played a significant part in the team’s transition into the professional era.
“He has always looked to assist younger referees and develop and progress their careers, which makes his new role such a good fit. We look forward to John joining the Referee Department and working with the dedicated Referee Development Managers to identify and develop Irish refereeing talent.”
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