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Morrison strengthens elite referee pathway

28 May 2010

  • RFU Elite Referee Unit plan for the coming season
  • JP Doyle and Greg Garner awarded full-time contract

RFU Elite Referee JP Doyle officiating in the Guinness Premiership

Photo: Getty Images

The Elite Referee Unit (ERU) of the Rugby Football Union has confirmed the full time contracts of JP Doyle and Greg Garner as it continues its succession planning and appointments programme ahead of the 2010/11 season.

Head of Elite Referee Development Ed Morrison and Elite Rugby Director Rob Andrew have ratified the appointments of Doyle and Garner after they successfully completed their two year trainee programme that has seen both referee in the Guinness Premiership, the IRB Sevens circuit, the Churchill Cup and Pacific Rim tournaments around the world.

Luke Pearce, 22, is the latest trainee to be appointed and he will work with Ed and his team of referee development managers,Tony Spreadbury and Brian Campsall, with the aim of further developing his considerable potential, starting from August 1.

Two more referees Ian Tempest (22) and Lyr Apgeraint Roberts (33) join the ERU in a part time capacity.

Assistant Referees Paul Burton, Nigel Carrick and Rhys Davies have gained promotion into the ERU after a rigorous selection process.

Morrison said: "One of our objectives within the Elite Referee Unit is to establish a clear development pathway for our young talent and JP and Greg’s progress shows that we are delivering tangible results in this area, and we aim to continue that with Luke, Ian and Lyr."

Morrison identifies National Panel pathway

Morrison is also delighted with the excellent work being carried out by Steve Leyshon, Steve Savage and Mike Melick within the National Panels. The ERU continue to work closely with Steve Leyshon and his team in identifying officials who they believe have the potential to operate at the very cutting edge of the sport. 

He said: "It’s vital that we recruit more referees at the elite level of the game to handle not only games in the Guinness Premiership, the LV =Cup and the Heineken Cup but also with a view to giving our officials exposure at the international end of the sport courtesy of the IRB."

Further appointments include Trevor Fisher who will act as a TMO in the Guinness Premiership and Mike Hamlin who joins the ERU as a timekeeper.

Andrew is delighted with the progress of the ERU team, adding: "Ed and his team have delivered some outstanding results in the development of our young referee talent and JP and Greg are just two examples of them delivering in this important area of the departments’ work.

"Like everyone else connected to the Elite Rugby Department I will continue to support Ed, Tony Spreadbury and Brian Campsall with their work with a view to further positive results being achieved in due course."

Morrison also paid tribute to the number of officials who have given exemplary service to the ERU and the sport over a number of years.

He said: "On behalf of everyone involved in officiating at the Elite end of the game and the RFU I’d like to thank Ashley Rowden who has decided to retire from senior refereeing to concentrate 100 per cent on his new role as an assistant referee where his vast knowledge will be of enormous benefit to young officials coming through the ranks. Ashley joined the National Panel of Referees in season 1994/95 and is widely respected throughout the game.

"We’d also like to thank Assistant Referees Paul Emerson and Bob Mullis who stand down after years of outstanding service to the game. They both joined the ERU in 2001and their level of personal commitment will always be appreciated."