IRFU National Panel Rugby Referees are primed and ready to go for the 2022/23 season.
That’s according to IRFU Development Director Colin McEntee who was in attendance at the 2022 National Referee Camp, the first in-person referee development camp permitted to take place since 2019.
The day’s learning featured a number of facilitated workshops as well as fitness assessments to ensure referees are at the requisite levels for the season ahead.
“It shows their commitment to the game,” said McEntee, “and without these referees we don’t have a game.”
“They’re really driving standards to improve themselves so there’s a culture here. The commitment is great – these guys are working hard to make our game a really good spectacle and provide for a really positive experience through rugby. They really care about the game.”
“We’re a few weeks out from the start of the season and their fitness is at a really good level. They’re sharpening their game around the finer aspects of critical areas that they need to pinpoint. It bodes well heading int the new season.”
Key topics discussed and workshopped on Day 1 of the camp included:
IRFU National Referee Manager David Wilkinson says the referees are being supported to drive their own standards this season.
“The standards we set in a given week start right from their appointment. From there it’s about mental, physical and operational preparation. All of those elements lead to a mindset of performance, and it’s a performance mindset where we need these referees to be.
“At these camps, we look at a needs-based selection of topics to cover that are based on developments in the game as well as some of the trends we’re seeing at a professional level,” Wilkinson told IrishRugby.ie.
“Positioning is an area that is always evolving, foul play remains a massive topic for the game and deliberate knock-ons require very technical decision making around key factors and we want to offer clarity around that.
“Situational awareness then is about educating referees on how to make the right decisions within the context of a game. That’s about communication, player management and self management to get referees into the mindset that we do have choices around our decisions in certain aspects of the game – we’re not robots.”
There are also a number of upcoming new referee courses to be aware of.
Munster New Referees Course – Saturday 27th August – Charleville – Contact Olly.Hodges@irfu.ie
Connacht New Referees Course – Saturday 27th August – Galway – Contact Peter.Fitzgibbon@irfu.ie
Leinster New Referees Course – Saturday 27th August – Dublin – Contact Sean.Gallagher@irfu.ie