Meeting Up

Neil Chivers, and I have discussed the need versus the opportunity of holding Society Training Meetings in the immediate future.

We have decided that we cannot chose a date just yet and that we will need to to watch and react to any Government directives about indoor gatherings.

We do have a date pencilled in for a Reviewers and Developers meeting in the middle of January but that taking place will depend on the ongoing situation. Details will follow.

We are almost half way through a challenging season. Many of you have ‘gone the extra mile’ by doing two, sometimes even three matches in a week, all helping us cope with a shortage of match officials. Can I on behalf of the Board of Directors just say a huge thank you, your efforts are really appreciated.

Finally, again on behalf of the Board of Directors can I wish you and your families a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.


IMPORTANT Friday bulletin 17/12/21

Welcome to the last Friday bulletin before Christmas, and the last one of 2021. It’s been a ‘stop-start’ year in terms of rugby, and we hope that 2022 brings a less disrupted year of officiating.

Weekend Fixtures, 17-19 December

Some important matters relating to this coming weekend’s fixtures. You may have seen that the RFU have notified community clubs that if they wish, they may postpone this weekend’s fixtures without penalty. Their full guidance notes can be seen by clicking here, and is summarised below (sections particularly relevant to referees are highlighted). The advice to clubs includes:

  • Encouraging players, coaches, members, match officials, to undertake Lateral Flow Tests ahead of attending and to self-isolate if the test is positive, and take a PCR test to verify the result.
  • Minimising use of changing rooms – encourage players to arrive in kit. If changing rooms or treatment rooms are required, facemasks must be warn and rooms should be ventilated where possible.
  • Minimising use of social spaces, ventilating where possible and keep spacing within rooms.
  • Implementing regular cleaning protocols of communal areas and toilet facilities.
  • Ensuring hand sanitisers are readily available
  • Reminding members to follow government and public health guidance on mask wearing.
  • Minimising travel with other people to and from matches

If you are not comfortable in fulfilling your allocated fixture this weekend as a referee, please inform the appointments team by midday on Friday 17th December, by emailing or messaging the Re-Appointments Officer Rab Cooper. Similarly, the local RFUs have been asked to ensure that any club postponing their game informs the referee in good time.

Age-Grade Rugby from January

A reminder that from 1 January age-grade rugby regulations revert to their original levels. So for example U16 teams who have been playing U15 regulations up to the end of 2021, will revert to ‘normal’ U16 regulations from January. Teams and coaches still have discretion to ‘play down’ to a regulation below their age grade if they feel that their players are not ready, so please treat this with empathy in your age-grade games in January. In addition 17-year-olds may now play adult rugby if this has been sanctioned in accordance with Regulation 15.6 and approved by North Mids RFU or the player’s local Constituent Body. For a helpful summary of age-grade variations kindly provided by our Sunday appointer Paul Scott, please see our Useful Documents page, and check out the RFU’s helpful YouTube videos on the same topic

Wishing you and your families all a safe, healthy and happy Christmas: keep reading these updates as we go into the second half of the season!

Geoff Murch R.I.P

It is with great sadness that I have to tell you that Geoff has passed away. He died peacefully at his home last Friday.

Geoff was a long standing member of the Society and more recently a watcher for the us and the Federation. He could often be found at one of his favourite clubs, Veseyans RFC.

Geoff always seemed to have a smile on his face and just was good company, a proper rugby man.

Condolences have been sent to his family.

Details of his funeral have still to be settled.

Geoff, you will be missed.

Kelvin Roberts

Chair of the Society

Friday Update: it’s a ‘biggie!’

Lots of news this week, stay with us to the end as this is all really useful stuff!

Referees hit the big time!

We’re celebrating two major achievements this week: our YMO director Leonie Pryor took charge of her first Allianz Premier 15s game at the weekend, presiding over the Harlequins’ 69-7 win over DMP Durham Sharks. You can relive the experience alongside Leonie as the game was streamed on YouTube here

And former YMO Callum Watson (pictured above) has been appointed to the National Referee Panel with immediate effect, joining our Training Director Neil Chivers in a major achievement along the referee journey! Congratulations to both Callum and Leonie (and of course their coaches and mentors!)

You’re never too old!

A word of thanks to referee stalwart John Kelly, who has already refereed 36 times this season! Already into his 7th decade, John proves that age is no barrier: if you’re a ‘dormant’ ref aged anything from 18 to 80, please do consider dusting off that whistle and helping us to fulfil the fixture list in the New Year!

New disciplinary forms

With immediate effect, the RFU has issued updated disciplinary forms, which should be used from 9 December onwards. These forms can be found in the Referee Resource area, and also downloaded here

Click here for the new RC report form for adult rugby

Click here for the new RC report form for Age-Grade rugby

Click here for guidance notes for completing the forms

More from the Expert

An update has been added to a previous ‘Ask the Expert’ answer, together with a useful insight into intepretation of the new Global Law Trials on the Goal Line Dropout. Click here to be enlightened!

Meet some more of our Refs!

Four more of our referees reveal all about themselves on our ‘Meet the Ref 2021’ page

Case study: referee abuse

There’s been a lot in the maintstream and rugby press (Daily Telegraph, The Rugby Paper, Nextgenxv), as well as social media channels, about the shortage of referees and how to a certain extent this has been attributed to player abuse of referees. So that you can see how the process of reporting – ‘prosecuting’ – punishing can play out, here is a link to a recent case involving a player in Cheshire. The ban imposed on the player was equivalent to the rest of the season, so it is certainly worth the few minutes of your time to complete the relevant abuse form!

Expenses Reminder!

A reminder that today 9th December is the deadline day to submit your expenses to the Society for all this season’s matches up to and including 30 November 2021. All expenses should be claimed via the Who’s the Ref website. If you are new to the Society and/or unclear how to claim, please contact the Treasurer

DBS Reminder

A reminder that in order to be appointed to age-grade games, you must have a valid DBS certificate. This is Society policy in order to preserve safeguarding of both the teams and the official. The DBS application form can be downloaded by clicking here, and should then be sent to our Development Director who will advise on further processing

It’s that Friday feeling!

Whilst crossing your fingers that the weather doesn’t disrupt a second weekend in a row, here’s just a couple of snippets of news for this Friday 2nd December.

New Facebook page for members only

The current Facebook page is a great supportive forum for referees and for the wider rugby community in the North Midlands area, as well as encouraging more people to take up the whistle. We have also now set up a ‘members-only’ Facebook page, open to active Society referees only, and designed to be a ‘safe space’ where all referee-related discussion can be held in relative privacy! Membership is by approval only, so please head over to the page by clicking here, and ‘Ask to Join’ .

Meet the ref

To show the ‘human side’ of Society referees (!), you’ll start to see a regular series of ‘Meet the Ref’ snapshots, which tell you just a little bit about some of our referees and what they get up to ‘in real life’ when not running around on a rugby field! The first four of these can be found by clicking here.

Variations: ‘Game On Global’

Recognizing some of the difficulties being experienced by the community game in getting a full 15-player team together on a regular basis, World Rugby have drawn up some guidelines to enable clubs and teams to adapt the game in various ways to accommodate lower numbers. Click here to view the World Rugby Page, and click here to download the full Law Variation guidlines.