RUGBY: Exciting junior referee scheme launched

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An exciting new project, designed to recruit and develop a team of youngsters to officiate at school and junior club rugby matches in Coventry and Warwickshire, has been launched by the Warwickshire Society of Referees.

The Warwickshire Junior Whistlers scheme is targeted at youngsters – both boys and girls - aged between 14 and 18, who would like to gain a qualification enabling them to referee junior games and possibly then go forward on a career path to senior rugby.

The scheme is being launched at a meeting at the Old Coventrians Rugby Club, in Tile Hill Lane in September and applications are invited from any youngster who wishes to join the scheme.

Under the auspices of the Rugby Football Union, the scheme will be largely funded for the 20 candidates lucky enough to be chosen and the training courses will be held during the school half-term break at the end of October.

To give young people the widest possible opportunity to get involved the Junior Whistlers scheme will train those wishing to concentrate initially on the mini/midi game – those aged between 8 and 12 – as well as the full 15-a-sidegame played in schools and at community clubs on a Sunday morning.

The Warwickshire Junior Whistlers will be co-ordinated by Warwickshire Society member, Steve Davies, a former member of the RFU’s National Panel of Assistant Referees, with the training courses delivered by Peter Tolan (Entry Level Award) and Phil Everitt (Mini-Midi Certificate), both RFU Regional Referee Trainers.

Peter Tolan, Society spokesman said, “ There is always a shortage of match officials to cover all the games that are played by young people in Coventry and Warwickshire each week. It is vitally important for a contact sport such as Rugby to have referees who are fully trained in how to officiate, not just within the laws but, more importantly, with safety.

“Schoolchildren are fully capable of refereeing, both at clubs and at their schools, which will relieve untrained volunteers or coaches of the responsibility, enabling them to concentrate on their specialist role during games. They will be supervised and given ongoing training and development by fully qualified match officials during the season.”

Tolan said that rugby refereeing equipped young people with many interpersonal skills, man management and the ability to communicate effectively, instilling confidence and respect, which would stand them in good stead as they entered adult life. It was also the route to refereeing the senior game and for those with the ability and commitment, to promotion to the RFU’s match officials’ list and possibly a full-time career.

Youngsters interested in joining the Warwickshire Junior Whistlers should contact Steve Davies immediately on 024 7641 6709 or by e-mail on davies@9roman.freeserve.co.uk.