More coffee vicar?

One of the National Panel’s institutions is a splendid fellow by the name of Andrew Vertigan. He’s a Yorkshire-based Salvation Army minister and so has a unique view on the refereeing world – although now Ive written that I guess we all have a unique view given that we are all different and come from different backgrounds and occupations. Anyway… Referees come in all sorts and Vicar (as he is known in my phone book) is unique! A good man to catch up with every now and again. One of the shames of what we do is that we very rarely get to meet up with fellow refs/friends to just catch up.  We last bumped into each other when I introduced him to my regular hotel in the SW when I was running touch for him in Plymouth. A fine brekkie I seem to recall – when he’d stopped bleeding all over the table – why arent disposable razors better made!

Anyway, I just stumbled on his new blog – his pearls surrounding the challenges he is on through Lent this year. Well worth a read – here.

I too have given up a few things – chocolate (obviously!) and then crisps. Im nearly a week in and the resolve is holding out despite the efforts of Mrs Refblog who bought a bumper bag of Walkers the other day (other brands are available!) and my own stupidity in that last Monday I opened up a packet of yummy Germany choc squares with Marizpan on them – a fact Id forgotten I’d done when I decided to drop Choc for lent. Careless. They still remain opened on the side in the kitchen. Must take them to work tomorrow!

So if you see him during the next three weeks – offer him water. If you see me, offer me anything as long as it’s not chocolate or crisps!


Well, what an eventful few weeks = sadly not really rugby related.

As you may have gathered from my Twitter feed, the Refblog family have moved home. Well, sort of. We’ve bought and own a new home – we haven’t yet moved into it. Joys of updating a home lived in by others for over 20 years. Let’s just say that our friendly plasterer is being kept in dust sheets for a few months!!

So when we get all that done, it will be a few coats of paint, some new carpets and we’ll be able to move in!

Oh yeah, and I’ve squeezed in a few rugby matches too. Nice to see some new places too. Jersey – what a great place!

With the impending Refblog Jnr II in the offing, I’m not going to be round for the end of the season, so I’m being used as a troublesweeper while my comrades in the Champ refs squad concentrate on the play offs. I’d love to be involved at that level, but with so much going on in the Refblog world, that’s where my focus has to be.  And it wont be long before I need to be careful about how far away from home I go!

Looking forward to being involved in some pressure games of a different sort – with promotion and relegation at stake throughout the leagues, it’s good to have the confidence of my masters to be dropped into these games. Hopefully I can pay off that confidence by staying off radar and out of controversy’s way. That is after all, what we all try and do.

First stop – Daily Mail Cup semi final on Saturday!

Fingers crossed!

6 Nations – referee changes

News from

Changes to Six Nations referee appointments

(IRB.COM) Tuesday 15 February 2011


 Changes to Six Nations referee appointments

George Clancy will now take charge of England v France at Twickenham

The International Rugby Board has been forced to make changes to the match official appointments for the RBS Six Nations owing to a minor knee injury sustained by ARU Referee Steve Walsh.

Walsh, who was due to take charge of England v France at Twickenham on February 26, has been withdrawn to concentrate on his rehabilitation from a knee cartilage injury.

Walsh is now back in full training but will be replaced for the fixture by Ireland’s George Clancy, who will be taking charge of his 16th match since making his international debut in 2006.

With Rugby World Cup 2011 rapidly approaching Walsh will be given a further opportunity of time in the middle during the RBS Six Nations, replacing Ireland’s Alain Rolland, who refereed the opening match in the Championship, for the Scotland v Italy fixture at Murrayfield on March 19

Scrums… again….

Lots of good stuff in this feature on BBC website

IRB scrum news (and Refblog thoughts!)

News from the IRB about scrums.I can already hear the smirking of people relating to the put in being refereeing, but in my view, that is missing the point. Fact – referees cant look at more than one thing at once. If the front rows didnt mess around, then we wouldnt need to focus on them, and maybe watch the put in. They do, so we cant!

I do get a little tired at people blaming refs for all the mess. If the players didn’t try and cheat in this area, it would be simple. Rugby players don’t pass the ball forward (a law) but will do many things against scrum law. Why? Somehow, this all seems to come back to the referee, with very little comment/direction focussed on the players. Just a thought….

Key bit for me:

IRB policy which mandates that referees should crack down on illegal front row binding with a collective emphasis on ensuring that the tight head prop binds on the body of the loose head prop and not the arm and the loose head prop adopts the correct body position and binds on the body of the opposition tight head.

Looking forward to Saturday already!


IRB and 6N coaches commit to tackling scrum

(IRB.COM) Wednesday 26 January 2011
IRB and 6N coaches commit to tackling scrum 

Coaches from the Six Nations participants pledge to work with the IRB to deliver a stable scrum platform at the elite level

Coaches from the RBS Six Nations participating Unions have thrown their support behind the IRB’s commitment to address scrum issues at the elite level of the Game.

Currently 60% of all scrums collapse in Tier 1 internationals and 40% of scrums are required to be reset while the average time taken to complete a scrum has risen from 41 seconds to 53.

Despite a slight decrease in the number of collapses and resets since the new engagement sequence was introduced last year, the IRB remains determined to tackle the issues and ensure that this critical facet of the Game is a spectacle and a contest.

Coaching representatives from England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales pledged to work with the IRB to deliver a stable scrum platform at a highly positive and productive forum in London on Tuesday evening.

In addition to expressing their support for the scrum engagement sequence, the coaches also gave their backing to the IRB’s policy of the strict application of scrum Law, including ensuring straight put-ins. The coaches also support the IRB policy which mandates that referees should crack down on illegal front row binding with a collective emphasis on ensuring that the tight head prop binds on the body of the loose head prop and not the arm and the loose head prop adopts the correct body position and binds on the body of the opposition tight head.

This collaborative approach will be critical in assisting to address the problematic aspects of the scrum. Last year a similar approach agreed by all Tier 1 coaches led to a crackdown in key areas of Law: offside at the breakdown; offside from kicks; illegal maul formation and strict application of the tackle Law. This resulted in a return to attacking Rugby.

“The meeting was extremely constructive and highly productive. All found it beneficial and it was encouraging to see universal agreement from the coaches about the need to continue to penalise the clear and the obvious in the five key areas of Law and in particular the need to address the scrum issues that are currently experienced at elite level,” said IRB Referee Manager Paddy O’Brien.

“We are encouraged that teams recognise there is a collective responsibility to ensure that the high number of collapses and resets is reduced. The coaches expressed their full support for referees to employ a zero tolerance policy towards engagement offences and have given a commitment that their teams will endeavour to be compliant in producing a stable, steady scrum by binding correctly. The scrum is an integral facet of the Game and by working together we can target the issues while ensuring that player welfare continues to be the most important consideration.”

A directive will be issued to all Unions reinforcing the message. The coaches forum has become a regular fixture ahead of the RBS Six Nations, Tri Nations, June and November Tests and underscores the IRB’s commitment to an open and transparent process of collaboration and communication between the IRB and its Member Unions in all areas of refereeing practice.

Front rows again!

Another interesting article from Lord Moore of Hook(er) over at the Telegraph. Bit disappointed it took him so long to get to a point about player technique being part of the problem, but seems like some realistic points in the main.


And so back to work!

Well, after a few weeks enforced rest (weather, illness, weather Refblog Jnrs birthday, weather x 3), Im back over the whitewash tomorrow – or more accurately back on the whitewash tomorrow.

I’ll be running up and down the line at a Championship/B&I Cup game in the afternoon, assisting one of my chums. Cant wait to get back out there. Bag’s packed, flag at the ready. Bring it on!!!

Hope the game is a good one!

Happy 2011!!

To all of you, I wish you a fun, rugby filled 2011. Hope it brings you everything you seek, desire and work hard for.

I will be having a typically chaotic 2011 I think. End of Jan/Feb – move house; end of May – Refblog Jnr II will be putting in an appearance and in October, Wales will win the 2011 Rugby World Cup.  That would be a pretty good year, although Id take two of those to make it a qualified success! 😉



I seem to …..

…have forgotten how to referee. Anyone give me any tips?

Hate the weather when it’s like this. Just can’t be sure of a game! Mixed with some family commitments, means I need a game – quick!!

Time off!

Evening all

Can’t believe it’s been nearly a month since I wrote something on here. Not good – sorry readers!

Had 2 weeks off due to wedding and then was a bit poorly last week, so was nice to get out again today. Great game – 25-44 final score and no real drama. Did feel like I hadn’t reffed for 3 weeks, but think I got away with it. Hitting the gym in the morning for a spinning session and then probably again on Tuesday.

Off for a winter break to Germany next weekend, so another week off and then back into the Championship with some nice big games in December. Got a big local derby on Boxing Day with which work wonders for my Chrimbo diet! Focus the will-power like nothing before!

All good fun at the moment. Mrs Refblog is with child once again (yippeee! 🙂 ), so got some decisions to make about the future, job is usual corporate fun and games, and Ive just sold my house. Anything gonna happen???? Jeepers – I need to stop the world for a few hours so I can breathe!