Update 27th may 2020

Subjects: Charity fund raising and Club match fees

NM Ref Completes Crazy Charity Challenge

Many of you will know that Rab Cooper has been walking around his garden for charity. Below is his story:

During these strange times, the best of the British people has been on show, and none more so than the now legendary Sir Captain Tom Moore. Inspired by this great man, North Mids referee Rab Cooper took the initiative, creating, and now completing, his own marathon challenge in aid of the Masonic Charitable Foundation.

“I’ve wanted to raise money for this great charity for a while,” said Rab. “They funded much needed long-term therapy for a family member, when they could not afford to pay, or really wait for it. It changed their life. I will always be grateful.”

“I scratched my head for a while wondering what I could do, but then Captain Tom came along, and a lightbulb went off.”

The challenge? To walk 250 miles, covering the distance it would take to walk from the masonic grand lodge of Warwickshire to Freemason’s Hall in London, and then back again. But during lockdown that was obviously not possible, so he did it ‘virtually’. Rab took on the mammoth journey on the home turf of his own back garden.

“Thankfully, my garden is fairly long, otherwise I would have become very dizzy, very quickly!” laughs Rab. “And I’ve left a clear memento of my journey, as I’ve worn the grass out completely. We now have a clear oval track which, luckily, my son loves to ride his bike around. We are thinking of keeping it!”

35 days, and roughly 12,500 laps later, Rab completed his trek on Friday 22nd May.

“It has been a long, hot slog at times, but with the support, kindness and generosity shown by my family, friends and my referee colleagues, I have managed to keep going, and somehow managed to enjoy most of it! I wish to thank you all so much; it has been truly humbling experience.”

Rab’s JustGiving page will remain active for a few more weeks, and if you would also like to donate please visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/fiveofnineclub

Society position on fund raising. The Society currently does not have its own nominated charity although the build up to our Centenary season may change that. Therefore it is not in a position to support one fund raising activity over another, it is for the individual member to make that decision.

Club Fees The Board are very aware of the financial difficulties that will affect probably all of the North Midlands clubs when rugby starts again. To help, the Society will definitely not be increasing its fees to clubs during the season.  Additionally, every effort will be made to further ease the burden by looking at not charging Clubs for a period of time if that is at all possible.

Update 16th May

Update 16th

Today’s topics – NHS shirts  – RFU Update – Centenary Kit

NHS Shirts Particularly for those who do not follow our Facebook page (North Mids Rugby Refs) and on Twitter (@nmrefs), the shirts below are being offered for sale by Simon Barker. The cost is £25 + VAT and it is hoped that you will add a donation for the NHS. The Society fully supports Simon’s initiative and it will not have any bearing on the free centenary kit we are working on. If you are interested in buying a shirt Simon can be contacted at simonb3773@gmail.com
RFU Update
The announcement today from DCMS, that elite sports can restart is welcome and enables us to consider plans for a return to individual training with social distancing in selected performance training facilities across Premiership Rugby.

While much has been done in recent weeks to establish protocols around a safe return to training and ultimately competition, there is still significant work to do and discussions to be had with players and staff before any form of training can resume, their welfare will be at the heart of our decisions.

This announcement relates only to the restarting of individual training with social distancing in Premiership Rugby. The RFU will continue to work with government and other sporting bodies to provide guidance on return to training in the community game, Greene King IPA Championship, Rugby Sevens and Tyrrells Premier 15s ahead of next season. We will continue to keep everyone informed when RFU guidance is issued.  

Centenary Kit

It was agreed at Thursday nights virtual Board Meeting that in addition to the centenary shirt, referees will also be given shorts and socks PROVIDING THEY ARE PAID UP MEMBERS.

A suggested design of a fleece for watchers etc has been seen but needs some slight amendments before ordering. The colour will be green.

The shirt design, like the fleece is still being ‘tinkered’ with but the basics are there.

Update 13th May 2020

Law Change.

Very interesting last paragraph re Law trials and concussion

Click here to see a web copy of this email
For immediate release
Issued on behalf of World Rugby

World Rugby announces law amendment relating to scoring against the post protectorWorld Rugby has announced that, with immediate effect, it will no longer be possible to score a try by grounding the ball against the post protector.

The minor amendment to Law 8 was approved by the World Rugby Council during its special meeting held via teleconference today and follows a recommendation by the international federation’s Rugby Committee and specialist Laws Review Group.

With defending players currently legally obliged to stay behind the goal-line and post-protector shape and size increasing for welfare reasons, it is increasingly difficult for teams to legally defend this area.

In some extreme cases, post protectors have been lifted or moved by defending teams, leaving the posts exposed and therefore increasing the risk of injury.

The amended law will now read: The post protector is no longer an extension of the goal-line and therefore Law 8.2 (a) will read: A try is scored when the attacking player is first to ground the ball in the opponents’ in-goal.

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “World Rugby’s mission is to make the game as simple, safe and enjoyable to play as possible. This law amendment reflects that mission.

“By stipulating that an attacking team can no longer score against the post protector and therefore must ground the ball in-goal, this gives defending teams a fair chance of preventing a try from being scored.”

The 2020 Laws of the Game are accessible in 11 languages online at www.laws.worldrugby.org and three languages on the mobile App via Google Play and the Apple Store. There is also an online quiz for budding laws experts.

Meanwhile, World Rugby continues to monitor evaluate ongoing closed law trials, which have been implemented with enhancing player welfare in mind. They will resume when rugby resumes.

Initial feedback for the 50:22 and the below the waist tackle are encouraging, with the latter resulting in a three-fold decrease in injuries and a 60 per cent reduction in concussion in the French community game.

Update 11th May 2020

Today’s Topics

Club Cards, Union Cup (to be played end April 2021), Webinars

Club Cards

Details taken from the club cards have been sent to every referee who submitted the cards. If you have not received your results, please let me know using the comment button.

Union Cup

The Society has already offered to provide match officials for the Union Cup, to be played in Birmingham on the weekend April 30th May to 2nd.

In view of Covid-19 it was pleasing to read the latest newspaper report.

INCLUSIVE Rugby was given a huge boost this week when Birmingham Bulls RFC confirmed the Union Cup – Europe’s premier LGBTQ+ tournament – is to not only go ahead in Birmingham in May 2021, but has garnered support from Welsh international rugby legend Gareth Thomas.

The Union Cup 2021 will see upward of 60 LGBTQ+ rugby teams from more than 18 countries battle it out in the Second City over the weekend of April 30-May 2.

Birmingham is the ninth host city of the cup and organisers expect to build on the legacy from the Dublin tournament in 2019 which attracted record crowds and was delivered with great acclaim within the wider community.

Alistair Burford, tournament director for Union Cup 2021, commented: “Birmingham Bulls RFC is thrilled to be the host club for the upcoming Union Cup 2021 in Birmingham. With COVID-19 prompting the postponement of the Bingham Cup until 2022, all eyes will be on the Union Cup 2021.


Nancy Wilkin-Mead our Training Director has recruited some of members to present Webinars on their particular subject. These should start early June and will include coaching, watching, management, AR ing, tackle, Law explanations etc etc. Dates will be published asap

Update for 6th May 2020

Managing players

I have posted a video that has been circulated around the Midland Group. Managing players and their expectations is discussed. It is just not about rugby, it starts off with cricket umpires and then there are hockey examples There are two rugby clips, one featuring Nigel Owens and the other Wayne Barnes. If you can, just stop the video after each one and ask yourself, particularly if you are a watcher, ‘Did they do well’ or could it have been done better? Then listen to the summary. Click here to see video

Let me know your thoughts by clicking on the comments. If you have difficulty giving a comment, let me know at chair@northmidsrefs.co.uk as we are still working on that pat of the web site. At the moment the comments will not be seen by others but with your permission we could use your comments as a discussion point.

Club Cards

About a third have been sent out, the remainder will be done later today or tomorrow.