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  • Writer's pictureJohn Evans

February 2023 Newsletter

Updated: Feb 7, 2023

First of all, let me start off with congratulations to our award winners at the Edinburgh Rugby Referees’ Dinner. It was great to see so many people there and fantastic to have over 20 former Presidents and Secretaries in the room.

The award winners were:

  • Young Referee of the Year - Euan Maguire and Gregor Wightman

  • Referee of the Year - Jayme McGoldrick

  • Lifetime Achievement Award - Martyn Hawthorn MBE

There were also presentations to Jim Fleming MBE to recognise his 50 years of ERRS membership and to Iain Goodall to recognise his tremendous 32 years of service to ERRS as Allocations Secretary.

Book now for next year to avoid disappointment! Saturday 27th January 2024 has already been confirmed by Teviot.

Sevens Tournaments We are receiving requests for teams of refs for various sevens tournaments. Let me know if you’re available for various Saturdays and Sundays in March, April and May.

And now for something completely different... We’ve been asked about a couple of issues that are hot topics at the moment.

The height of the tackle is obviously making the headlines and we will keep you informed as we receive information from Scottish Rugby. The RFU approach has obviously gone down as well as a January Bronco so I’m sure other Unions are thinking about the way ahead. Whatever happens, we will make sure that our training day (13th August) includes plenty of material and practice around any law changes or reinforcements.

There have also been questions around what happens if a team has 2 front row replacements, makes a change at prop only for the replacement to announce the they are unable to play on that side of the scrum.

If the team has up to 18 players in the squad, they must replace either a prop or a hooker on the first occasion. The team are at risk of breaching law 3.8 if they have an LH prop as the replacement and the TH prop goes down injured, or if they have only a hooker as the replacement and either prop goes down injured. On the first occasion they are unable to replace this player, therefore going to uncontested scrums, law 3.8 has been breached.

Up to a 22-player squads, the issue is the props. A team must be able to replace both a prop and a hooker on the first instance of asking. The team are at risk of breaching law 3.8 if they have an LH prop as the replacement and the TH prop goes down injured. The team could have 2 x props (LH & TH cover) but no hooker and risk that the hooker will not be injured. On the first occasion they are unable to replace this player, therefore going to uncontested scrums.

The table indicates the minimum number of front-row players by squad size and the minimum replacement obligations. A match organiser may, having taken player welfare into account, amend the minimum number of front-row players in the squad and the minimum replacement obligations at defined levels of the game.

Squad Size

Min. number of front row players in the squad

Must be able to replace at the first time of asking

15 or fewer


16, 17 or 18


Either a prop or a hooker

19, 20, 21 or 22


Both a prop and a hooker



LH prop, TH prop and hooker

Fitness Mark Sinclair of Heriots Super 6, Stewarts Melville School and Scottish Swimming and Diving has been working hard to generate interest in the ERRS fitness sessions but attendance and interest has been low. Let me have your views on how you’d like the fitness support to work.

Mark has set up a WhatsApp group for all our members. Please reach out to Mark (email: to get added to it if interested!

You can contact me too – just don’t expect to see me hobbling like Winston from ‘Still Game’ through the Bronco!

Congratulations to the 3 ERRS members who broke the 5 mins 30 seconds barrier for the Bronco test held at Leith recently- Johnny Cockayne, Rob McDowell and Jayme McGoldrick (but not necessarily in that order!)

Monthly Meetings Our next meeting is on Wednesday, 8th February at 7PM at Meggetland when we’ll be focusing on Sevens reffing with Fin Brown.

Boroughmuir Associate Membership As you know from WTR, all ERRS members have associate membership of Boroughmuir so can benefit from food and drink discounts and also join other refs and members in the bar on a Saturday evening or other times.

And finally...

Please remember, we are here to support each other- on and off the field. If any of us want to talk about anything at all, please reach out. We have a qualified mental health first aider in Liam Burnell and Liam is available to support any of us should we so wish. Liam spoke at the September meeting and the information he provided is set out below. Please keep feeding back the comments on how ERRS is being run, what we can do better and anything we can add. We are here as the unofficial Match Officials’ Rugby Club and we want it to be fun, enjoyable and worth being part of.

Best wishes,

John Evans

ERRS President

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