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  • No new iRB Elite Referees' Panel

    The iRB has today announced a restructure that has Paddy O'Brien, the iRB Referees' Manager moved from his position to head up the 7's game.

    The report says that Paddy wanted a fresh challenge, this may be true, or a polite way of saying he was pushed, but whatever they reason for the change Paddy certainly has the ability to take one of the World's fastest growing sports, and make it a success at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

    I, would personally like to say Thank you to Paddy for the good job he's done at the helm of Elite Referees over the last 8 years. And the support he's shown to RugbyRefs.com in the past.

    The iRB press release also mentioned that there would now be a new selection process to appoint referees to promote consistency, and that the June Appointments had been allocated to nine officials. The new Selection Committee is made up of 5 men, a South African (Henning), A Scotsman (Jeffrey), a New Zealander (Bray), a Welshman (Thomas) & an Irishman (Courtney). The 5 will meet four times a year to discuss the selection of referees for the next round of appointments.

    There were some big names missing from the list, and the media has had a field day reading between the lines, stating that Pearson, Barnes, Lawrence, Kaplan & Jonker have all been dropped from the Elite Referee Panel.

    This is not true, no new Elite Referee Panel has currently been released. And until such time as a new Panel listing is released, no official has been promoted to it, or demoted from it.

    The appointments may mean the iRB believe these officials are not on form, but this would be speculation, which I do not want to enter in to, I'd rather deal with the facts as they are currently shown.

    What is interesting is that Wayne Barnes has been appointed to two games in the Pacific Nations Cup, one of them being the match between Tonga & Samoa, currently ranked 9th & 10th in the world. How high do these Pacific Nations teams need to get before they are considered Tier One? They are higher ranked than both Scotland & Italy. In fact the Fiji v Scotland game IS classed as one of the top tier games, but yet the teams are 16th & 12th in the world rankings respectively.

    Lets also not take away the fantastic achievements of the new crop of iRB referees that are getting a chance to show how well they can perform at the highest level, Jerome Garces, Chris Pollock & Jaco Peyper all getting good games, especially Jaco who seems to be one of the best referees on the Super Rugby Circuit at present. His appointments are certainly merited.

    The last question is who will take over Paddy O'Brien's job? Lyndon Bary would have to be the Favourite, being part of the selection committee already, outside runners include the RFU Elite Referee Manager Ed Morrison, & the SARU Referee Manager Andre Watson, both Rugby World Cup Final Referees. I suppose we'll just have to watch this space!
    Comments 4 Comments
    1. Andy Evans -
      No surprises given 6N performances. The likes of White & Spreadbury must be wondering what they did wrong given what we've seen from other "elder statesmen" since they were booted off by PO'B. Walsh & Rolland are probably in the last chance saloon. Hopefully we'll see a return to refereeing the game the way the laws are written rather than interpreted so the grass-roots won't get the wrong idea about what is acceptable particularly at scrum-time.
    1. stuart3826's Avatar
      stuart3826 -
      I wonder if White and Spreadbury may be in the frame for Paddy's job?
    1. Simon Thomas's Avatar
      Simon Thomas -
      possibly, but only if their boss Ed Morrison doesn't want it.
    1. Phil E's Avatar
      Phil E -
      Quote Originally Posted by Simon Thomas View Post
      possibly, but only if their boss Ed Morrison doesn't want it.
      I am told there is little chance of EM moving away from his home turf.
      Apparently his wife thinks going to the shops is too far to travel.
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