Tuesday 19th May Training Session

The next in our series of webinars is with Professional Referees Sara Cox and Luke Pearce on all things Positioning.

You can also watch our previous sessions below.#stayconnected

Previous Sessions




Impact of current government guidance on rugby clubs
Following this week’s publication of the new government guidelines on exercise, we have developed some guidance on what this means for opening of playing fields and clubhouses on ruby club sites. Rugby activity remains suspended. However, if clubs wish to open their facilities, players may now engage in restricted individual training. Click here to access the infographic we have produced that provides simple guidance regarding individuals training at rugby clubs.

Each club should make individual decisions about when their facilities are ready to open and can be operated safely. Until a club believes it is safe and responsible to reopen, it should remain closed. Facilities that are open must follow relevant government guidance - click here to access the guide on steps to take when reopening your club house, based on current government guidance.

We will continue to keep the rugby community updated on developments as and when we know more about the impact of the government’s decisions on the community rugby.

Can anyone identify these travellers - answers to John Haggart at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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."



My thoughts and those of all of us at the RFU continue to be with everyone impacted by the difficult and exceptional situation we are all facing, both across the country and within our own rugby union community.

Earlier today we held a virtual board meeting and I am writing to advise you of the actions that have been agreed to offer a support package directly funded from the RFU worth £7m to provide support for community clubs in England.


To support clubs we are today announcing that the RFU will be providing a £7m relief package for community clubs. The package includes monies ring fenced and diverted for the community game, as well as additional funding. These measures include:

• An early release of £800,000 cash due to clubs through the ticketing fund.

• Early release of final funding payments (£600,000) to Constituent Bodies and suspension of the activity plans against which this was allocated, enabling them to utilise this to provide “immediate support grants” to clubs most in need. In addition, £400,000 will be made available to Constituent Bodies who elect to match funds from their own reserves.

• A suspension of the Quarterly loan repayments for clubs with outstanding loans due in April (£335,000).

• The creation of a £5m support loans programme, offering loans of between circa £2,000 and circa £10,000 to clubs, with deferred payments for six months and repayable over three years.

We will be providing more details on this financial package in the coming week. We will also be issuing regular club recovery updates with practical advice on how government grants can be accessed, as well as other business management advice.

We welcome government interventions which will provide business rate holidays and grants for clubs.

The RFU will continue to provide a free helpline to assist clubs with legal and tax related matters, which you can access here.

Significant progress has been made on the process for considering the implications of ending the season early. We will ensure a fair and balanced outcome for the game and are now committed to update on this by the middle of April.

No one can predict every possible outcome of the COVID-19 outbreak particularly with regard to the duration of this crisis and we are managing in the unknown. We have modelled three potential scenarios and are working on an assumption based on a medium term impact with a view to a return to rugby in the autumn. We will continue to monitor against this assumption and review and revise planning where necessary.

The RFU had budgeted for a loss making year within a four year cycle due to the costs of the 2019 RWC campaign and hosting only two home Six Nations games. The loss will now be considerably more as we face challenges similar to businesses across the country.

The RFU’s biggest asset is also a major cost and the closure of Twickenham Stadium has a significant impact on the revenues we can generate to re-invest back into the game. In that sense we are like every other club in the Union, when we do not stage matches and events we do not generate revenue.

Based on our planning assumption we estimate RFU revenue losses over the next 18 months to be approximately £45-£50 million and have a firm plan in place to mitigate this. The RFU Executive Team will be taking a cut in remuneration in excess of 25%. In addition, combined Board fees will be reduced by 75%.


We are continuing our support to ensure colleagues and communities are given help to follow government advice and are providing recommendations on how to stay fit and healthy and a range of new content will be made available to players and fans across our social media channels.

We are discussing with government and the NHS the role the RFU and Twickenham Stadium can play in providing volunteers as well as support for the NHS including accommodation, parking, and meal provisioning.

I am confident that rugby will play a big role in energising communities across England after this difficult period. In the meantime, we are working hard with the wider rugby community to take the necessary measures to safeguard a financially resilient Union so that we can prioritise support available to ensure survival in the best interests of the game.

Bill Sweeney

  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.

  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. 

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