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Match Official- HSBC World Rugby Seven Series (49th Emirates Airlines Dubai Sevens)

Recently I represented Lansdowne, the ARLB (Association of Referee’s Leinster Branch) and IRFU at the HSBC World Rugby Seven Series at the 49th Emirates Airlines Dubai Sevens.

You may wonder why this may be of any interest to you, but I have found refereeing is rarely a story spoken about in a club, Lansdowne included.

In trying to capture this particular experience on paper, I found myself struggling to write it in a way that may interest a player, coach or fan. In saying that, I believe it is an important experience to share as it, and many other opportunities exist to anyone who takes up refereeing.

Here is a small snippet of that trip:

Standing in anticipation, the roar of the crowd flows through the tunnel entrance as the music intensifies around the stadium. The view in front of me is that of a small window to some of greatest seven’s rugby in the world. New Zealand in line to the left, USA to the right, both powerhouses of the game, both contenders for the title. The legs tense up knowing that the world’s fastest players, Carlin Isles and Perry Baker will be stretching their legs at Olympic speeds at some point throughout this game.

As the team’s are called down the tunnel, a walk turns to a sprint with both teams entering the pitch, split by the camera man. My run is short but sweet across the pitch, taking in the 40,000+ fans all singing, all dancing atmosphere. A quick comms check amongst the officials is followed sharply by the referee’s whistle to start the game.’

Again, just a small snippet but having officiated three times now at World Rugby level, its one that only gets better each time round.

Rugby refereeing has provided countless opportunities to not only travel the world, but to officiate at club, provincial, national and international level while representing my club, ARLB and IRFU.

I would implore anyone interested in refereeing, whether a current player or ex player, coach or fan to please pick up the phone to the club or visit to find out how you can get involved and follow in the footsteps of the countless referees Lansdowne has proudly called members.

Colm Roche

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