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  • Writer's pictureJohn Evans

October 2022 Newsletter

Updated: Feb 7, 2023

The season is now well underway and hopefully, we’re enjoying some decent rugby.

As I write the first draft of this, there is massive debate around the end of the Bledisloe Cup game and the ref’s decision to penalise the Aussie stand-off for delaying his kick by awarding a scrum to the All Blacks from which they scored the winning try. We want to speed the game up. Was Mathieu Raynal correct or just pedantic?

Law 9.7d states that the infringement for timewasting should be a free kick, whilst law 20.5 states that a FK or PK should be taken without delay otherwise a scrum should be awarded.

In 2005 Rob Dickson, in a Celtic League match between Ospreys and Connacht, penalised Connacht in injury for time wasting for not taking a 22m drop out quickly enough. Ospreys kicked the penalty to win the match. Rob penalised them with a penalty for intentionally infringing the laws rather than a FK for time wasting. Ultimately, as with so many aspects of refereeing, it comes down to clear communication and law knowledge.

It didn’t happen to me but did happen to someone else..... In a recent Super 6 game, the referee awarded a try after the ball was grounded against the foot of the post protector.

As my fellow Welshman, Windsor Davies would have said "Oh dear, ‘ow sad; never mind"

Remember that it is important we all need to stay on top of law changes, age grade variations, etc so our plea this month is: don’t let it happen to you... stay on top of all the necessary information!

Here’s the link to the World Rugby information:

It might happen to any of us..... Head knocks and other injuries- there are no such protocols as HIA in club rugby in Scotland. The referee has the duty and responsibility to instruct a player to leave the field of play permanently if the referee believes that the player has received an injury and to carry on would endanger the well-being of that player. This is covered in World Rugby’s Law 3 section 22c.

If players or coaches behave in a manner deemed to be unsporting or abusive towards the match official after such an incident then the normal sanctions should be applied and the matter reported to Scottish Rugby.

If you require support then please contact myself, Graham Newton or Iain Young (our discipline officer).

Updating availability and kit size This is a repeat of last month’s plea: Please ensure your availability is updated in WhosTheRef as soon as possible so that Iain Goodall knows who he can and cannot appoint to games. We have handed out significant amounts of kit and some members have managed to sneak kit without paying subs - we know who you are and we will hunt you down! We also have a second shirt on order- pink- it will bear the Wooden Spoon logo and should be with us around December. Thank you to Graham Allen for his kind support in this provision. Gregor Wightman has kindly offered to take on the role of kit manager. Kit will be available from 6 pm on the 12th October at Boroughmuir for those who have paid subs.

Subscriptions Can I repeat the plea for subs to be paid ERRS subs are £15 for the season with a voluntary £1 addition to the Murrayfield Injured Players Fund? Payment should be made to: Edinburgh Rugby Referees’ Society Account Number: 00133451 Sort Code: 801114 Please add your first initial and family name as narrative and the word ‘subs’ after it. If you are unable to make the payment just now, then give me a call or drop me an email (07834 521 519/ and we will provide a solution- it’s no issue. There are some notable absences in the ‘subs paid’ list- you’ve had kit so please pay your subs.

Monthly Meetings We held our first monthly meeting at Boroughmuir Rugby club in September when Dr Ian Cunningham joined us to talk about ‘managing difficult players’. We’ll continue this discussion at our November meeting. Our October meeting at Meggetland (Boroughmuir Rugby Club) (12 October @7pm) will focus on fitness and running lines. Mark Sinclair (Heriots Super 6 and Scottish Swimming and Diving strength and conditioning coach) is leading our fitness programme and he will join us to brief us on what we can expect. We also intend to focus on running lines and optimising our movements about the field to ensure we are positioned well for those key game moments and thank you to Fergus Hollins for leading this session.

ERRS Heritage We have a rich heritage in Edinburgh Rugby Referees’ Society and many of us are not fully aware of the fantastic veins of talent and contributions we’ve brought to rugby across the world over more than 50 years. We want to build a heritage section on our website so if you have any material that you think might be of interest to others then let me know. If you’d like to help create the digital archive, then let Brodie Duncan or me know.

Exchanges We now have an official invite from Netherlands Rugby for 2 refs (one for a youth game, one for a league one game) and a coach to head out for a weekend and we will reciprocate. We also have dates from the West of Scotland Society for exchanges together with opportunities in the Borders. Graham Newton, Gregor McIntosh and Alex Obreja are running this programme.

ERRS Annual Dinner This will take place at Teviot Row House (Edinburgh University) on Saturday, 28th January 2023. Our speakers will be:

  • Colin Rigby – President of Scottish Rugby

  • Mark Blair - Ulster, Borders, Edinburgh, Toulouse and Penicuik

Alex Haskett is leading on the organisation and we will issue ticket details shortly.

Introduction to Match Official Courses There is a women-only course at Murrayfield on 22nd October- please let your club members know and hopefully, we can swell the numbers further as we look to build our numbers of women match officials. We are also looking to run an Introduction course with Currie Chieftains and with other clubs. We are also working with Clan (the organisation who lead on inclusive rugby/rugby for all) on a course for mixed-ability rugby match officials - this is in its early stages but welcome as we look to build our inclusivity in the game.

Self-Development We have a session at Leith Rugby Club on 18th October with Johnny Bacigalupo on scrums and how to set up for success. This is the first of a few sessions on building knowledge of set pieces and key parts of the game that Graham Newton is pulling together.

Coaches’ Corner We are well underway with our progression of PVGs for our match official coaches who are likely to work with referees and ARs under the age of 18. Thanks to Ronan for all the work on this. The policy and key documents are now on our website -

And finally....... First of all, congratulations to Chris Howe who has been awarded our New Referee of the Year Trophy for last season. Chris was away over the summer, so it was only in mid-September that I go the chance to present Chris with his trophy. It was a close-run contest with so much fantastic new talent in ERRS and well done to all.

Secondly, we all wish Hollie Davidson the very best in the World Cup in New Zealand. Hopefully, Hollie will be able to come along to one of our meetings to talk about her experiences.

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 he 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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