Becoming a referee

Referees provide a vital function in servicing all levels of the game. Refereeing is also a fantastic hobby and is increasingly becoming a genuine alternative to playing the game.

Whether you aspire to referee at the highest level or to referee locally, there is a place for you. There are excellent support structures in place to develop referees and a thriving social aspect too.

Benefits of refereeing

There are several benefits to becoming a referee:

  • Refereeing is a great way to stay involved in the game. You are in the thick of the action on the pitch.
  • Fitness is a key element to refereeing and provides our referees with a great incentive to maintain their fitness.
  • Education is an ongoing part of being a referee.
  • There are monthly meetings to keep all referees up to date with all aspects of the law.
  • This means our referees are constantly learning and up to date with the latest law changes and interpretations.
  • Whatever level you aspire to referee at there is a place for you – refereeing age-grade games in your area, or adult games throughout your province.
  • For referees who perform at a consistently high level there are opportunities to referee nationally in the Energia All Ireland League.
  • There is an excellent social aspect to refereeing. You will meet a broad range of new people and forge new friendships.
  • You will gain membership to Leinster Rugby Referees Association. Benefits of this include access to tickets.
  • Once you become a full member of the Leinster Rugby Referees Association you will have access to refereeing kit.
  • This is exclusive to members and the gear is supplied by the province’s official kit supplier.

Steps to becoming a referee

  • If you are interested in becoming a referee you should contact the Referee Development Manager in Leinster Rugby. They will talk you though the process and let you know when the next New Referee Course is set to take place.
  • The New Referee Course is a day long course which takes place on a Saturday. Once you complete the course you will become a Trainee Referee.
  • Trainee Referees will receive mentoring and support on an ongoing basis once they begin the trainee referee process. This will include three follow up workshops which usually run for 90 minutes once a month. Progression to full membership is based on a combination of ability, commitment and fitness.

I want to referee in my own club or school

If you only wish to referee in your own club or school then the online Affiliate Referee Course is for you. For more information and to complete this course use think link – here.

Referee pathway

A day in the life of a referee

Retired players

Have you just finished playing and find yourself wondering how you can stay involved in rugby? Then perhaps refereeing is the next step for you. Increasingly, more and more players who have decided to hang up the boots are continuing their rugby journey by taking up the whistle.

Why? Refereeing is an excellent way to maintain your fitness level after you retire. You are still getting out on the pitch and enjoying the game from the best seat in the house. Your playing experience will certainly also stand to you in terms of your ability to read the game and in understanding what the players are trying to achieve.

All the provincial associations/societies have members who are former players, and they referee at all levels from age-grade right up to the All Ireland League. Some have even progressed into High Performance and officiate at the highest level. Andrew Brace, Frank Murphy and Joy Neville all enjoyed distinguished playing careers before taking up the whistle. They all referee in the professional game now.

If you are thinking about giving refereeing a try, contact the Referee Development Manager in Leinster Rugby.


Seán Gallagher
Referee Development Manager

Hayley Whyte
Referee Administrator