With sadness, the Society remembers

  Richard Sharp

 Richard was known as Dick to his friends.

Dick refereed Saturdays and midweeks regularly and, once he hung up his whistle, assisted Ted Sewell with looking after new starter referees.

All the votes have been counted and validated the winner of the Society Whistlers Trophy for the 2019/20 season is


Oadby Wyggestonians

Jenny Robinson, OWRFC President, wrote to the Society on receiving the message earlier this week

"It is always a pleasure to extend a warm welcome to our referees and I look forward to welcoming them all again to the club once we are able. With our wonderful referees we have our game to enjoy. 
Many thanks to you all."


  1. “C” – 5
    Obviously you start with 3 on the pitch, plus a minimum of one prop and one hooker. Teams are obliged to inform the Match Official where their FR replacements can play, so, if you are told there are at least 2 FR replacements, you should have at least one extra hooker and one extra prop. (See Law 3.8)
  2. “C” – Stop the game, restart with a scrum. I would argue that the scrum should be where the ball was kicked, the kicking team to put in. (You could argue that it should be the non-kicking team below where the ball struck the branch)
    This is a tricky one but the starting point is Law 6.9(f): The ball becomes dead if it hits anything over the playing area. Therefore, you cannot play on and any action after the branch has been hit, unless foul play, is immaterial. As the ball is dead you have to restart the game with a scrum (A lineout option does not exist as the ball has never left the field of play).

 Law 19.1 lists the various scenarios for scrums and among these is “The referee awards a scrum for any other reason not covered in law” which is the closest definition to this scenario. The scrum is taken at the closest point to the place of stoppage. You could argue that this was below where the branch was struck, and that the non kicking team should have the put in for not causing the ball to be deadI feel it would be more credible to restart at the place of the kick (similar to a kick through the in goal) with the kicking team retaining possession as they have attempted to play the ball positively, but have been impeded by circumstances beyond their control and should not thus be penalised for this. Answers on a Postcard!

  1. “C” Penalise for deliberate knock on
    The tackler was entitled to play the ball as he had gotten back to his feet and no ruck had formed therefore he is not offside. However, Law 11.4 makes it clear that an attempt to catch the ball must be made to avoid the action being seen as a deliberate knock on
  2. “No”
    Law 17.1 is clear that the ball must have reached the plane of the 22m line before being caught for a mark. In this scenario, the catcher is deemed to have taken the ball back into the 22
  3. “C” – Penalise for offside
    Law 19.29 is clear: Once play in the scrum begins, the scrum-half of the team in possession has at least one foot level with or behind the ball.

EPCR statement – 2020 Marseille finals and semi-final matches 

Following a conference call yesterday (Monday 23 March), the EPCR Board can reconfirm the suspension of this season’s Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup tournaments and has furthermore decided to postpone the semi-final matches, as well as the 2020 Marseille finals, which were due to be played on the weekends of 1/2/3 May and 22/23 May respectively. 

In making the decision, the Board is abiding by the official directives and recommendations of the relevant authorities in its territories to restrict the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In light of the earlier postponement of its quarter-final matches and with fixtures in Europe’s professional league competitions currently suspended due to the public health crisis, EPCR believes it necessary to provide as much clarity as possible to all stakeholders regarding the knockout stages of its tournaments. 

To that end, EPCR is working with the leagues and unions to restructure a conclusion to its season as part of a wider rescheduling of the remainder of the season in Europe, with all contingencies underpinned by the requirement to protect the health and welfare of players, club staff, match officials, supporters and the wider rugby community. 

EPCR remains committed to completing the 2019/20 Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup season, and it is planned to reschedule the quarter-final and semi-final matches, as well as the Marseille finals, in line with fixtures in the professional league competitions, subject to advice from government and local authorities. 

Tickets already purchased for the Marseille finals will be valid for the new dates when announced, and from that point, fans who are unable to attend on the new dates will be entitled to a refund. 

EPCR would like to thank Olympique de Marseille, the staff at the Orange Vélodrome and all local and regional partners for their continuing collaboration, and an update regarding the knockout stages of the Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup will be communicated as soon as practicable.