Whilst Leinster Rugby celebrates another super year, Leinster Referees are to the fore in world rugby again…

Ireland supplies four of the 19 elite International referees with two of those, Alan Lewis and Alain Rolland, coming from Leinster. Both these referees will features in next year’s RWC if they stay injury free. David Keane is on the IRB sevens panel and hopefully will be Ireland’s first Olympic Sevens referee in London 2012.

Dudley Phillips is making huge strides in the Magners League and surely will make the jump into the Heineken Cup soon. Aoife McCarthy is Ireland’s first Women’s referee to regularly attend International tournaments and took part in the RWC 7s as an assistant referee. All of these referees came through the Leinster referees training system and to work with the younger referees to ensure Leinster continue to stay at the top in world refereeing.

So much for the top of the pyramid, the majority of Leinster referees can be found in the fields of Dundalk, Naas, Enniscorthy or UCD learning their trade from youth’s rugby to AIL, with plenty of help from the players and spectators. The laws of rugby or some of the most complex of any ball game. Take time to listen to the different interpretations in the crowd around you today. How can so many people views the facts differently?

The top referees view the events and measure their material effect, not every knock-on is a scrum, and not every accidental offside is a penalty. It is not a secret that refs get it wrong sometimes, most of them are human, but in an average a ref has to make between 150 to 250 decisions during a game! Tough 80 minutes work.

Every referee is watched, assessed and coached by senior or retired referees, who use their experience to mould the raw material into a running encyclopaedia of rugby laws. The constant search by the administrators to find the perfect game for the players and spectators means the referees must learn new laws and interpretations almost every year. This falls to the Referees Committee to ensure that every referee is educated and updated constantly. All of the referees, assessors and committeemen in Leinster Rugby are volunteers.

Somewhere in the crowd today there is another Lewi or Rollers to referee at the RWC 2015 or an Under-13’s match in ‘Rock or Arklow!

Interested in becoming a referee? E-mail denis.collins@leinsterrugby.ie or visit www.arlb.ie