Law School: IRB Referee Manager, Paddy O’Brien

Posted by SCRRS Website Committee on December 26th, 2010

If you could have five minutes with the top man in rugby refereeing, what would you ask?

IRB Referee Manager Paddy O’Brien will feature on this week’s IRB Total Rugby show and the programme’s producers are offering IRB.com users the chance to email in their own questions to the former whistle-blower.

Whether on the Tri Nations or the Sevens World Series or tackling key issues such as refereeing at the breakdown, referee fitness or the scrum, O’Brien speaks frankly each month in ‘Law School’ on Total Rugby.

Last month he spoke about the running game in the Tri Nations and the effect on refereeing, referee selection and appraisal, referee fitness and the use of technology in Rugby.

IRB Referee Manager, Paddy O’Brien

O’Brien’s day to day role is to manage the Game’s elite match official test panels, working with a team of assessors to constantly monitor this crucial aspect of the sport.

He also oversees the development aspect of international refereeing, playing a key role in selection and management for tournaments such as the IRB Junior World Championship, the Women’s World Cup and the IRB Sevens World Series.

Having begun refereeing with the Southland Referees Association in 1984 and combined that with 17 years in the New Zealand Police force, he turned professional in 1996, took charge of his first test match on 23 October 1994, a Rugby World Cup qualifier between Hong Kong and South Korea in Kuala Lumpur, which the Koreans won 28-17.

In an illustrious career he became New Zealand’s most capped Test official in 2003 when he officiated the Six Nations match between France and Wales in Paris.

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