As the competitive rugby season is now underway, Leinster Rugby Referee Development Manager, Seán Gallagher, would like to remind all club and school coaches about the IRFU policy on refereeing matches.

Seán explains, “It is vitally important that everyone involved in coaching or managing teams in clubs and schools throughout the province adhere to the IRFU policy, which states that all rugby matches from U-13 upwards are refereed by Branch Referees or Affiliate Referees.”

Affiliate Referees are defined as those aged 16-59 who are qualified to referee matches involving a club or school to which they are affiliated, where no Branch Referee has been appointed. They usually referee age-grade matches and provide an important function in servicing the game.

The IRFU Affiliate Referee Course has been updated for the new season and is now available online. This is a resource for players, coaches and administrators in clubs and schools to improve their knowledge of refereeing and the laws of the game. Once qualified as an Affiliate Referee, they can be appointed by their own club and school to referee matches when a Branch Referee has not been appointed.

Another exciting development with the IRFU Affiliate Referee Course is that the minimum age requirement for completing it has been reduced to 16. This will enable any club or school to appoint qualified boys or girls to referee matches within their own club or school at a level appropriate to them.

“It is an exciting step forward for match officiating that the minimum age requirement has been reduced to 16 for Affiliate Referees. It will allow boys and girls across the province to referee within the supportive environment of their own club and school. Hopefully, once they have gained some experience, and turned 18, they will be able to apply to become a member of the Leinster Rugby Referees and enter the referee pathway,” he adds.

Click this link to view the IRFU Affiliate Referee Policy and to complete the course – HERE.