Waynes Barnes recalled to top IRB referees pool

Great news for Wayne. Glad to see the Referee selection process working as advertised a few months back.

Match officials named for Rugby Championship

(IRB.COM) Friday 6 July 2012
 Match officials named for Rugby Championship

Wayne Barnes will referee Argentina’s encounter with Australia on the Gold Coast

The International Rugby Board has announced the appointment of match officials for the inaugural Rugby Championship, which begins on August 18.

Appointments were made by the IRB Match Official Selection Committee following a detailed review of performances during the recent June tours and Tests.

The IRB’s commitment to promoting consistency by enabling movement in and out of the group and rewarding referees who are in form is reflected in the selection of eight match officials with Wayne Barnes (RFU) returning following a strong showing in the IRB Pacific Nations Cup.

The referees are: Alain Rolland (IRFU), Steve Walsh (ARU), Nigel Owens (WRU), Romain Poite (FFR), Wayne Barnes (RFU), George Clancy (IRFU), Jaco Peyper (SARU) and Craig Joubert (SARU).

The referees will also undertake assistant referee duties alongside a group of up-and-coming referees who have earned their place owing to their performances in recent Tests and at the IRB Junior World Championship in South Africa.

Rolland will make history when he takes charge of the first match of The Rugby Championship between Australia and New Zealand at the ANZ Stadium, Sydney on August 18.

On the same day Walsh will also make history when he referees Argentina’s first match in a major annual Tier 1 competition when the Pumas face South Africa at Newlands in Cape Town.

Away from The Rugby Championship, Rugby World Cup 2011 Final referee Joubert will take charge of the third Bledisloe Cup match on October 20. Chris Pollock (NZRU) was unavailable for consideration owing to hip surgery. 


IRB Match Official Selection Committee Chairman, IRB Council Member and former Scotland and British & Irish Lions player John Jeffery said: “The IRB is committed to ensuring that the platform is in place to promote the very best refereeing standards at the elite level of the Game.”

“Our continued priority is the promotion of consistency and performance and our aim is to deliver the best available panel for Rugby World Cup 2015, while at the same time applying the best-for-best principle in the selection of referees for each international window.”

“The inaugural Rugby Championship is a very exciting prospect for world Rugby and this selection is based on recent performances and appointments have been made on merit. Within the process we continue to consult with coaches and teams and I would like to thank the Unions for their feedback, dedication and full support of the process.”

IRB Referee Manager Paddy O’Brien said: “The goal across all aspects of international officiating is consistency and a highlight for us has been the partnership with our Unions in focusing on bringing through the next crop of referees who will be in contention for a place at Rugby World Cup 2015. This was very evident at the recent IRB Junior World Championship where the guys showed a good account of themselves.”

SANZAR Chief Executive Greg Peters said: “It is great to see the top match officials in the world appointed for the first edition of The Rugby Championship this year. This is testament to the hard work that the IRB Match Official Selection Committee has undertaken in identifying the top performers from the northern and southern hemispheres. The scene is well and truly set for the new preeminent southern hemisphere rugby tournament.”

The new selection system allows for movement in and out of the panel based on form and rewards the top performers and young referees who have graduated through the performance pathway ahead of Rugby World Cup 2015 in England.

News: IRB sanction global Law trials

New from the IRB this afternoon:

IRB and Unions sanction global Law trials
(IRB.COM) Tuesday 15 May 2012

  • IRB Council approves trials for five Law amendments
  • Full Union consultation and amendment evaluation undertaken
  • Laws Representative Group comprises Union technical experts
  • Successful trials undertaken at Cambridge and Stellenbosch
  • TMO jurisdiction extension trial approved for elite competition
  • The International Rugby Board and its Member Unions have sanctioned a global trial of five aspects of Law amendments following an extensive process of consultation and evaluation.

    The trial, approved by the IRB Council at its Annual Meeting in Dublin on Tuesday, will commence at the start of the next season in each hemisphere (August 2012 in the north and January 2013 in the south) and will be applicable to both international and domestic competition.

    Aspects of Law approved for trial include limiting the time that the ball is available at the back of a ruck and the positioning of taking a quick throw-in. In addition to the suite of seven Laws approved for global trial, three additional trials will operate during 2012.

    A trial extension of the jurisdiction of the Television Match Official will be introduced later this year, while the number of nominated replacements in Test Rugby will be increased to eight for a trial in the November window.

    The global trial has been sanctioned after an unprecedented evaluation process that kicked off with submissions and recommendations for 20 potential amendments from Member Unions and has culminated with recent trials of amendments to seven aspects of Law as a package at dedicated playing environments in Cambridge and Stellenbosch.

    This evaluation process is in line with the remit of the Laws Amendment Process approved by the IRB Council in December 2009.

    Unlike previous amendment processes, the process of selection, monitoring and evaluation has been steered by an independent Laws Representative Group, comprising technical representatives from each of the 10 Tier 1 Unions covering elite and community Rugby and representatives of the IRB Rugby Committee.

    Extensive evaluation of the Cambridge and Stellenbosch University trials undertaken earlier this year determined that each of the seven amendments could have a positive effect on the Game or clarify existing areas of Law and therefore a recommendation was made to the IRB Council via the IRB Rugby Committee to approve a global trial of all seven amendments.

    The five Law amendments to be trialled globally are:

    1. Law 16.7 (Ruck): The ball has to be used within five seconds of it being made available at the back of a ruck with a warning from the referee to “use it”. Sanction – Scrum.

    2. 19.2 (b) (Quick Throw-In) For a quick throw in, the player may be anywhere outside the field of play between the line of touch and the player’s goal line.

    3. 19.4 (who throws in) When the ball goes into touch from a knock-on, the non-offending team will be offered the choice of a lineout at the point the ball crossed the touch line; or a scrum at the place of the knock-on. The non-offending team may exercise this option by taking a quick throw-in.

    4. 21.4 Penalty and free kick options and requirements: Lineout alternative. A team awarded a penalty or a free kick at a lineout may choose a further lineout, they throw in. This is in addition to the scrum option.

    5. A conversion kick must be completed within one minute 30 seconds from the time that a try has been awarded.

    In addition to the global trials, the IRB Council approved three specific additional trials:

    1. A trial to extend the jurisdiction of the TMO to incidents within the field of play that have led to the scoring of a try and foul play in the field of play to take place at an appropriate elite competition in order that a protocol can be developed for the November 2012 Tests.

    2. A trial has been sanctioned for the November 2012 Test window permitting international teams to nominate up to eight replacements in the match day squad for Test matches. In line with current practice at domestic elite Rugby level, the additional player must be a qualified front row player.

    3. An amendment to Law 3.4 (Sevens Variation) to enable Sevens teams to nominate up to five replacements/substitutes. Under the revision, which will operate from June 1 2012, a team may substitute or replace up to five players during a match. Approval has been granted on player welfare grounds to recognise the additional demands on players and squads owing to the expansion of the HSBC Sevens World Series where there are three blocks of three events on consecutive weekends.

    Council also approved the referral by the Laws Representative Group of one potential Law amendment that was successfully trialled at Cambridge and Stellenbosch for further consideration by the specialist Scrum Steering Group (overseeing scrum force project) to be considered alongside the ongoing review of the scrum.

    The amendment that will be considered by the Group relates to the engagement sequence and will see the referee call “crouch” then “touch”. The front rows crouch then touch and using outside arm each prop touches the point of the opposing prop’s outside shoulder. The props then withdraw their arms. The referee will then call “set” when the front rows are ready. The front rows may then set the scrum.

    “We have a collective responsibility to ensure that the Game is as enjoyable to play, officiate and watch as possible at every level while player welfare is of paramount importance,” said IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset.

    “Rugby is currently in good health with participation growing around the world, but there is collective responsibility to ensure that a structured process can be implemented to allow for global analysis and to monitor trends relating to the shape and character of the Game as it evolves.”

    “The approval of five aspects of Law for global trial is the culmination of the Laws Amendment Process which was agreed by the IRB Council in 2009. The journey to this point has been exhaustive and collaborative and has involved full stakeholder consultation and I would like to thank Member Unions for their buy-in and commitment to the process from the outset.”

    “The Laws Representative Group were encouraged by the outcomes of the initial trials in Cambridge and Stellenbosch. The next step is a global trial with full buy-in and which has been approved by Council on the basis that the amendments can have a positive effect on the playing of the Game.”

    “The global trials are not fait accompli. It is essential at the end of the global trial process that decisions made are in the best interest of Rugby worldwide,” added Lapasset.

    Thoughts? Will they work? What about the delay to the scrum engagement change?

    IRB Clarification – scoring a try?

    A little late to the party but as I’ve added these previously (and I see people get to my blog looking for these,) so who am I to deny you, my loyal reader, from the latest law ‘clarification’ from the IRB:

    Clarification in Law by the Designated Members of Rugby Committee
    1 – 2012
    April 10, 2012

    The FFR (French RFU) request a clarification for the following:
    Following a kick ahead, the ball goes over the goal line and whilst it is still up in the air, a player places his hand on it and grounds it. However, before this player grounds the ball, his feet are in touch.
    We would like to know:
    • Whether Law 22.4 (g) applies only to a ball already on the ground before it is touched down or other situations as described above;
    • Whether the situation, as described above, is equivalent to “carrying the ball”.

    Clarification of the Designated Members of the Rugby Committee

    Law 19 or Law 22.4 (g) applies;
    • If player is carrying the ball, enters the opposition in-goal area and the player’s feet touch the touch-in-goal line or beyond then the player is in touch-in-goal and a try is not awarded. Law 19 Touch and Lineout – Definitions
    • If a player is not carrying the ball then Law 22.4 (g) applies – Player in touch or touch-in-goal. If an attacking player is in touch or in touch-in- goal, the player can score a try by grounding the ball in the opponents’ in-goal provided the player is not carrying the ball.

    The designated members confirm that:
    1. A try should not be awarded,
    2. The player is considered to be carrying the ball the ball is in the air when it is first played and,
    3. Law 22.4 (g) only applies if the ball is on the ground.

    New IRB Refs Chairman interview

    Speaking to the IRB comms chief Chris Rea today (care of www.irb.com) John Jeffrey, acting chair of the referees selection committee gives some interesting insight.

    Top news from these 10 mins:

    1) 8 strong aspiring panel for junior world cup in South Africa announced including: JP Doyle and Greg Garner (RFU), Leighton Hodges (WRU), Glenn Jackson (NZRFU), Angus Gardner (ARU), Francisco Pastrana  (ARG), Lourens van der Merwe (SARFU), Mathieu Reynal (FFR). Congrats to all, especially JP who is a good friend having got onto the RFU Panel at the same time.

    2) The TMO powers will be extended during the autumn international series to include things of concern in the passage of play leading to a try

    3) Paddy O’Brien requested to stand down from his XVs role and then was found his 7s role.

    4) Future elite referees do not necessarily need to be professional referees, but do need to be involved in Heineken Cup (NH) or SuperRugby (SH) to be considered for promotion to the new streamlined elite panel which will, on the face of it be more fluid than before (four selection meetings a year rather than two)

    IRB changes referee appointment restructure – Paddy O’Brien loses job

    Obviously a late night in the IRB press office after this was leaked to the BBC’s excellent rugby correspondent Alastair Eykyn.

    IRB unveils referee selection restructure
    (IRB.COM) Saturday 24 March 2012

    – Paddy O’Brien will now focus his extensive experience on Sevens
    – Selection committee to convene four times per year
    – Referee panel for June internationals announced
    – Process building towards Rugby World Cup 2015
    – Process allows for movement in and out of the Panel based on form
    – Paddy O’Brien to step down as IRB Referee Manager and transition to new Rugby Sevens role

    As part of its ongoing review process and commitment to ensuring consistency and that the best referees are selected on form to officiate in the biggest matches in the run up to Rugby World Cup 2015, the IRB has announced a restructured and more streamlined selection process overseen by a vastly experienced committee.

    The committee, which includes former elite referees Lyndon Bray, Tappe Henning (both SANZAR), Donal Courtney and Clayton Thomas (both 6 Nations), will now meet four times per year and make selections for the next international window with all performances reviewed as part of the next round of international selections.

    Following a thorough review of performances during the recently concluded RBS 6 Nations, the selection committee commitment to promoting consistency has been reflected in the latest selections with nine elite referees appointed to the top games in what is a busy June international window that also sees the beginning of the schedule involving tours to Tier 2 Unions.

    They are: George Clancy (Ireland), Jérôme Garcès (France), Craig Joubert (South Africa), Nigel Owens (Wales), Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Chris Pollock (New Zealand), Romain Poite (France), Alain Rolland (Ireland) and Steve Walsh (Australia).

    Acting chairman of the selection committee and IRB Council member for Scotland John Jeffrey said: “The IRB is committed to ensuring that the platform is in place to promote the very best refereeing standards at the elite level of the Game. Our priority is the continued promotion of consistency and performance and our strategic goal is to deliver the best available panel for Rugby World Cup 2015 while at the same time applying the best-for-best principle in the selection of referees for each international window.”

    “There will be consistent movement in and out of the panel based on form to reward the top performers and those making the step up as we build towards RWC 2015 in England. In short, this means that referees are selected on merit, in form and closer to the matches being played. All Member Unions are committed to this process, which is essential for its success.”
    Underscoring its commitment to ensuring selection on form, there will now be four selection meetings per year to tie in with the four international windows. At each meeting, the referee panel for the next international window will be reviewed and named.
    The committee agreed that the key areas of the Game identified for particular focus by referees needed constant reviewing. Those five key areas are:

    – All aspects of the tackle with particular emphasis to be placed on the tackler releasing the tackled player and rolling away and arriving players staying on their feet
    – Offside at the breakdown
    – Offside from kicks
    – All aspects of the scrum, particularly the engagement process and front-row binding
    – All aspects of the maul, particularly what constitutes legal maul defence
    As part of the restructure, IRB Referee Manager Paddy O’Brien has chosen to take on a new challenge after seven years of excellent service in his present role. Having played an instrumental role in the advancement of elite match official preparation and performance, including the management of the referee team at two Rugby World Cups, he has decided that he requires a fresh challenge.

    O’Brien will now focus his extensive experience into a similar role for Rugby Sevens, underlining the IRB’s commitment to Sevens ahead of Rugby making its return to the Olympic Games at Rio de Janeiro in 2016. He remains central to the match official process and is supportive of the restructure.

    IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “Paddy’s exceptional dedication and application to driving forward elite match official standards has significantly benefitted the Game over the past seven years. I am delighted that he will be channelling all his experience into preparing the best up-and-coming match officials on the HSBC Sevens World Series to ensure that the very best referees are in peak form for 2016.”
    The process for replacing O’Brien will be announced in due course.

    Click here for the Summer appointments

    Interesting move and while I can understand the move to a more transient pool, I just can’t see how some of those have made the list at the expense of those not on this time. But then again, I’m not a former Elite referee (like Bray, Henning, Courtney or Clayton) with access to all the data and “objective” analysis. I’d reckon that Wayne Barnes will be back sooner rather than later! Of all of those, Id suggest he would be the real test of the ‘people moving in and out of the pool’ concept. We know he’s one of the best and even if you suggest his Scot 6N game wasn’t his best, his form and consistency over the years has to keep him in good stead.

    I’d also just add that I’d like to see someone like Ed Morrison go for the top job. Clearly a world respected official, he has been running the RFU Elite Referee Unit for a few years now. When I suggested that on twitter last night, a retweet from Mr Eykyn to his 12,000 followers would suggest I may not be alone!!

    Law changes?

    Not sure I see the IRB doing this but interesting suggestions in this BBC story:


    Rugby bosses ponder law changes

    By Aimee Lewis


    Rugby’s governing body could consider law changes in response to the number of recent injuries and a perception the sport is becoming less entertaining.

    Injuries have become a major issue this season, while the trend has grown for kicking rather than running the ball.

    The International Rugby Board council meets next week, and Rugby Football Union chairman Martyn Thomas said a review of the laws is on the agenda.

    “At all costs we’ll do what we can to protect players,” he told BBC Sport.

    England’s preparations for this autumn’s internationals against Australia, New Zealand and Argentina were hit by what manager Martin Johnson described as an “unprecedented” number of injuries to his squad.

    Thirteen of Johnson’s original squad were sidelined ahead of the series – including four-fifths of the first-choice tight-five.

    Wales, too, have been without Lions trio Lee Byrne, Mike Phillips and Adam Jones, with the latter recently admitting that no player was now genuinely 100% fit.

    And in the Guinness Premiership, recent statistics have shown that at any given time about a quarter of all players in the top division are injured.

    “The rise in injuries is not acceptable,” added Thomas ahead of Tuesday’s meeting of Six Nations representatives.

    “We can’t just shut our eyes. We have the ability to change laws. If the medics and experts say there is a problem then the RFU will take a look at it.

    “The crucial thing is player welfare and the impact the injuries are having on the game, apart from a moral issue, of course.”

    Surgeon and former England full-back Jonathan Webb recently told BBC Sport that the increase in injuries could be put down to players getting stronger and fitter.

    England internationals are now on average two inches taller and a stone heavier than those of 20 years ago.

    “A bigger body travelling faster hitting another body is going to cause more damage,” said Webb.

    An RFU taskforce brought together in the wake of the ‘Bloodgate’ scandal suggested the introduction of rugby league-style “rolling substitutions” as one possible way of dealing with the increasingly physical nature of the modern game.

    The IRB had previously stated that no changes would be made to the laws of the game prior to the 2011 World Cup.

    But Thomas pointed out that there had been exceptions to this, with adjustments introduced at the scrum following the introduction of the “crouch, touch, pause, engage” command that was intended to improve the safety for front row players in particular.

    “We said we’re not going to change the laws this side of the World Cup, but we have to be open: look at the laws and look at the impact they’re having on the game,” added Thomas, speaking at the launch of the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2010 at Twickenham.

    “We changed the scrum law because we were concerned for player welfare. We have to be open and realistic.

    “The RFU has got a pretty good record for lobbying.”

    In addition to player welfare, Thomas said the council would discuss the preponderance of kicking in the game and the lack of tries in the Test arena this autumn. England, for instance, scored just one try in 240 minutes of rugby with a much-criticised win over Argentina the sole victory of an uninspiring campaign.

    The number of reset scrums and the frequency of penalties at the breakdown area have also been cited as particular concerns for a sport that is keen to try to broaden its global appeal.

    “The laws are on the agenda. We’ve been talking to Australia and New Zealand and other countries [and will be talking to the Six nations countries on Tuesday],” he said.

    “This is not a peculiarly English problem. It’s obviously the same for all of us around the world.”

    British and Irish Lions doctor James Robson believes the bulking up of players is also having a detrimental impact on the quality of rugby.

    “We’re getting to the point where we’re getting collisions, but not necessarily the entertainment,” Robson told BBC Wales.

    “Players are so big and so bulky that maybe skills have dropped a little. My hope is that coaches recognise that and we get a little bit smaller and faster and more skilful.”

    Steve Walsh is back

    Glad to see Steve Walsh is back in the game. Obviously sorted himself out after his public fall from grace in NZ and now it seems the Australians have taken him under their wing.

    Now the Super 14 appointments are done on form not country of origin, it does open things up for him, providing he can prove himself capable. Always was a good one in my eyes, and was a shame to see him finish his previous career the way he did.

    Good luck!

    Hattip: www.sport24.co.za

    Lions referees announced



    IRB Panels announced

    The revised lists:

    The IRB International Referee Panel in 2008 is:

    • Wayne Barnes (England),
    • Lyndon Bray (New Zealand),
    • Christophe Berdos (France),
    • George Clancy (Ireland),
    • Stuart Dickinson (Australia),
    • Matt Goddard (Australia),
    • Paul Honiss (New Zealand),
    • Craig Joubert (South Africa),
    • Marius Jonker (South Africa),
    • Joel Jutge (France),
    • Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa),
    • Alan Lewis (Ireland),
    • Mark Lawrence (South Africa),
    • Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand),
    • Nigel Owens (Wales),
    • Dave Pearson (England),
    • Alain Rolland (Ireland),
    • Chris White (England),
    • Steve Walsh (New Zealand)

    The IRB’s touch judge panel:

    • Peter Allan (Scotland),
    • James Bolabiu (Fiji),
    • David Changleng (Scotland),
    • Federico Cuesta (Argentina),
    • Carlo Damasco (Italy),
    • Rob Debney (England),
    • Tim Hayes (Wales),
    • Taizo Hirabayashi (Japan),
    • James Leckie (Australia),
    • Paul Marks (Australia),
    • Simon McDowell (Ireland),
    • Chris Pollock (New Zealand),
    • Romain Poite (France),
    • Stuart Terheege (England),
    • Hugh Watkins (Wales),
    • Cobus Wessels (South Africa)

    The IRB’s TMO panel: George Ayoub (Australia), Giulio De Santis (Italy), Graham Hughes (England), Johan Meuwesen (South Africa), Shaun Veldsman (South Africa), Geoff Warren (England), Nigel Whitehouse (Wales)


    Congrats to all newcomers!