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  • Writer's pictureJohn Evans

September 2022 Newsletter

Updated: Feb 7, 2023

Well, we’re finally underway! It feels like it’s been a long wait that’s now over.

It’s been great to meet so many members as you’ve picked up kit from my house. Thanks to Graham Newton who worked with me to get bags of kit ready and we’ll issue shorts and tracksuit tops to active officials as soon as we have them.

It happened to me...... Player information: One of our members was refereeing a pre-season friendly and had cause to yellow card two players (one from each side). At the end of the game, an official of one of the clubs asked the referee for the name of the other team’s player who had been yellow-carded. The referee rightly declined to provide the information.

If a team wishes to cite an opponent, then they should retrieve that information from SCRUMS.

Pre-match equipment check: Indulge me for a minute on a topic we’ve been discussing in our Introduction to Match Officiating courses of late. My dad used to lecture me on pre-match checks and used to recite ‘PWCCWNS’ to me from his days as a ref. That might sound like the Welsh version of a Spike Milligan novel but it actually was a mnemonic he used for his pre-match check:

  • Pencil

  • Whistle

  • Coin

  • Cards

  • Watch

  • Notebook

  • Spares,

and he would remind me that the most important bit was Spares.

Rumour has it that one of our elite refs found themselves with a whistle that stopped working and didn’t have a spare - luckily his No 5 did and I have certainly found myself forgetting to restart my watch after a stoppage so the spare with the actual time was helpful.

Updating availability This is a repeat of last month’s plea and will be a continuous one:

Please ensure your availability is updated in Who is the Ref as soon as possible so that Iain Goodall knows who he can and cannot appoint to games -

Also, if you have decided not to be an active match official anymore let us know and we’ll sign you up as one of our great coaching team.

Subscriptions Can I repeat the plea for any outstanding 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: 80-11-14

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 (07834521519/ and we will provide a solution - it’s no issue.

Fitness This season we are looking to implement Strength and Conditioning (S&C) sessions/programmes to ensure all referees can meet the fitness standards of our respective games. The main aim of the programme is to ensure that referees can keep up with the speed of play, get in the best position possible to see the first offence and maintain high standards for the duration of each match.

The ERRS fitness programme will be led by S&C Coach Mark Sinclair who has extensive knowledge in planning, preparing and executing gym-specific programmes, on-field conditioning and monitoring late-stage rehabilitation for individuals and rugby players. The game of rugby continues to become faster and more physical which is why we will be offering support in 3 key areas for all referees: Overall endurance, speed/change of direction and full body robustness/injury prevention strategies.

As many of you will be aware, SRU Panel refs have to hit 5.15 and 5.45 for the bronco (for males and females respectively). We know that speed to the breakdown and getting the opportunity to make a clear first decision is key and so we are looking at our fitness support provision via online programmes to build speed, stamina and agility as well as running 3 bronco tests during the season. This is contingent on our budget but hopefully, we can introduce shortly.

Our next meeting 14th September 2022 at Boroughmuir Rugby Club. 7pm start. We have a change of speaker and Dr Ian Cunningham of the Match Officials Masters Programme (Edinbugh Napier University) will be joining us to talk about managing difficult players. Graham Newton will provide an update on coaching and Liam Burnell will talk about our mental health well-being support.

Scottish Rugby Partnership Agreement We have submitted our budget and plan for the season and it’s been well-received. We now await the outcome of the budget deliberations. Website and social media Brodie Duncan has kindly taken on this work and is looking at the architecture etc. Personally, I’m keen to have a history section that details former Presidents etc and includes the prior achievements of our longer-standing members. If you have anything you’d think could be included (photos, information etc) let Brodie know.

Exchanges Gregor McIntosh and Alex Obreja are taking this forward and we have opened up a Dutch connection and request for exchanges together with one from East London so we’ll continue to build on this and hopefully see some exchanges in and outside of the UK this season and/or next.

Child Protection Officer (CPO) I am delighted to announce that Ronan MacHugh has taken on the role of ERRS CPO (that’s not one of the robots in ‘Star Wars’). Ronan will be responsible for ensuring that our safeguarding policies and processes are appropriate, relevant and followed and also for progressing the PVG process for our match official coaches who may, during the course of the season, coach a referee under the age of 18. We aim to move to a position where our referees who officiate at age grade level are also covered by PVG but this is a longer discussion.

Memorandum of Understanding with Borders Rugby Referees’ Society (BRRS) As mentioned this at our Training Day, we’ve had some good discussions with the BRRS Committee about how we work more closely together. This would include: appointments across societies (as per exchanges), shared training events and new referee courses and the opportunity to attend each other’s meetings (although anyone who is not a paid up member does not have a voting right). I will circulate the draft Memorandum of Understanding in the next couple of weeks and then we will convene a SGM to vote upon it.

And finally.......I’ll say it again.........

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.

Let me have any feedback on the newsletter and please send me your ‘it happened to me...’

Best wishes,

John Evans

ERRS President

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