Jump to main content


USRFR Referee Evaluators Hold Annual Conference

USRFR Referee Evaluators Hold Annual Conference

The Ulster Society of Rugby Football Referees met recently at Newforge as it held its annual Evaluators’ Conference.

It was the first time since December of 2019 that this group was able to meet in person.

Previously referred to as ‘assessors’, these evaluators tend to be former officials who now play a key role in the development and grading of our referees.

This process takes place across several different areas, with evaluators falling into three main categories.

Mentors help with our trainee referees, with their primary focus being to provide the support needed for these new officials to develop, with the long-term goal of retaining them in the game.

Coaches will specifically watch development referees and subsequently review their work, while also offering the support they need to enhance their skills.

Evaluators themselves will review, and then score, referee performance, with an additional focus on supporting refs to help further the development of their abilities.

There are currently 25 evaluators and 10 coaches in the USRFR, with a much wider group able to fill the role of mentor.

USRFR Evaluator co-ordinator John King spoke at the recent conference at Newforge Sports Complex in Belfast. He commented: “I view the evaluating process as one of the key elements of the referee evolution process – but it is important that evaluations are consistent, and recognise technical, tactical and observational aspects of the game to contribute to referee development.”


Richard Kerr, Referee Development Manager, added: “The recurring theme is support. Without this dedicated team, led by John King, Jack Young and John Crothers, our referees would quite simply not be able to develop and improve.”

“The USRFR has a long tradition of producing top referees, and this is thankfully continuing with the likes of Chris Busby and Peter Martin involved in high level matches. But it is not all about the elite end of the game.”

“Every referee has aspirations to improve, and the domestic game deserves the best quality referees available. We are truly blessed in Ulster to have so many committed individuals giving back to the game that we ultimately all love. The USRFR and IRFU structures are the envy of many countries around the world”.

If you’re interested in becoming a referee, please contact Richard Kerr, Referee Development Manager richard.kerr@irfu.ie / 07493868388