Frank Whaley

The society is saddened by the recent passing of Frank Whaley, who died on the 4th November 2020 following a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.

Frank was an honorary member of CUDRRS, having joined us in 1990 before going on to be our society training officer, referee assessor and a respected part of the rugby community. His reach went beyond the society, as Frank often travelled to help referees in the Eastern Counties and Central Federation.

Frank helped CUDRRS gain a reputation for providing a much admired and appreciated
service to local and national rugby of which we were very proud. In particular, he provided an analytical and constructive contribution to our evaluation of law change experiments in the RFU Laws Laboratory which were organised in College Rugby from 1996 to 2008.

Former society president Jon Evans has expressed his appreciation for the guidance and support he received from Frank whilst forging his career in refereeing and it is undoubtedly not alone in this regard.

Our condolences go out to all of Frank’s family and friends, not least to his wife Jill, daughters Susan and Catherine, and their grandchildren.

Message from RFU/RFRU on Current Return to Play

The RFRU has been asked to remind Societies as to where we are on the Return to Rugby Pathway.

Rugby is at Stage D of the pathway.

This means that intra club activity can include some contact work and inter club activity is allowed as a non contact activity.

Our strong recommendation is that a referee should only be involved in intra club activity in their own club.

Some clubs are asking societies to appoint to inter club activities. This should only be done if four criteria are successfully completed

  • Only referees who want to volunteer to do games should be appointed with no pressure being placed on individuals
  • The referee is satisfied that the club have made proper provision for a Covid safe environment for the official
  • If the game is an Age Grade game, the referee is DBS checked
  • It is organised as a non-contact fixture using Ready4Rugby or other Touch formats

If a club approaches a referee on an individual basis, the referee should only accept the game at their own club and recognising the above criteria.

We hope that this clarifies the situation in these fast moving times.

Ian Woodgate

RFRU Secretary

November Meeting

Our November meeting was held at Cambridge University RUFC. A number of our referees and advisors attended a session on game values and communication by Michael Patz (@Michael_RFURef), who also helped us at our pre-season meeting in September.

Once again, Michael led an engaging and thought-provoking session which principally focussed on three areas (appealing, challenging and goading) which are adversely affecting the game values across the game from grass roots through to the professional game. This precipitated a wide ranging discussion and suggestions (building on real examples) on how to manage/communicate with players.

All members of the rugby community are also reminded of the serious nature of concussion and are all encouraged to regularly complete the RFU’s HEADCASE online concussion module (Active referees should be completing the module at least once a season). Referees and clubs are also reminded that there is no HIA in any fixture that CUDRRS appoints to.

Our next meeting is on Tuesday 3rd December at Shelford RFC. There will be a short session on preparation and the psychology of refereeing followed by our traditional Christmas quiz.

October Meeting

The first meeting of the season was held at Shelford RFC and was well attended. A number of topics were mentioned, with a brief update from the management group before discussions around the following points:

  1. All members and clubs have recently been sent a memorandum regarding on-field behaviour and upholding the game values/spirit of the game. The memo can be downloaded here. It was noted that the standards amongst the clubs in the region is generally very high, but it is the responsibility of the entire rugby community to ensure that the game values are maintained.
  2. All referees were reminded of their responsibility around player safety and head injuries. All referees, coaches and players are asked to complete the Headcase training on a regular basis (i.e. at the start of each season).
  3. Referees are reminded to be fully aware of all youth/U19 variations – referees should note that a game can only continue with the agreement of both coaches if the score differential becomes greater than 50 points (or 6 tries in games where kicks are not taken). Referees are advised to speak to coaches at a convenient moment before the differential reaches 50 points if the game starts to become heavily one-sided. If anyone has any questions regarding youth rugby and regulations, please feel free to ask one of the management group who will be able to point you in the right direction.

The next meeting will take place on Tuesday 5th November 2019 at Cambridge University RFC at 7.30 pm.

CUDRRS Pre-Season Training Day Slides and Resources

Pre-season training day at Impington Village College hailed as a huge success

On the 1st September, a pre-season meeting for our referees around the theme of Safety and Consistency was organised by society training officer Joe McWilliams and held at Impington Village College.

The meeting was attended by a good number of our membership and featured presentations from the RFU by Michael Patz, who guided our members through the high-tackle framework along with other regulation changes . The slide deck produced by the RFU can be found attached to this article and a downloadable version of the world-rugby video can be found here.

The society will be looking to build upon the success of the meeting, both at our monthly meetings, and in future years. Should you have any topic suggestions for our training events, please pass them on to the CUDRRS management group.