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With no fixtures to keep ARURS officials’ sharp, it has been up to the Society’s Training & Development Officer, Capt Martin Bentley to mount some ‘home schooling’ during the COVID pandemic; challenging members to dust off their Laws of the Game and be ready to pick up the whistle as soon as competitive rugby in the community game is permitted. Through a series of monthly Zoom calls featuring special guests from across the rugby community, the Society has kept active and kept abreast of the return to rugby roadmap and the regular ‘D&G’ being issued by Twickenham.


Sessions with former England legends Danny Grewcock and Claire Cripps offered insights into how international players ‘do their homework’ on officials to know just how far to push it…although in Danny Grewcock’s case he freely admitted forgetting that whenever a Welsh nose happened to be poking out the wrong side of a breakdown! While sessions with world class referees such as Wayne Barnes and Andrew Brace gave ARURS members a privileged insight into what it takes to officiate at the very highest level and why Wayne Barnes is no longer New Zealand’s most wanted man with a life-sized bust of his head a popular aiming point in the gents’ loo of a Queenstown bar.


The final event for 2020 was the traditional Christmas function, complete with festive jumpers and a sack full of goodies for right answers to the quiz. The only question missing from the round with Gloucester as the answer to each of the questions was clearly “Which premiership team is most likely to be relegated this season?”


Zoom has proved a vital link in keeping the Society informed and connected and clearly has a role in ARURS’ future training and development programme. To keep the Society fully in lockstep with the national lockdown, all that now remains is for Martin to start issuing ‘predicted grades’ to ARURS members for the level of rugby at which they can officiate next season.


ARURS is always looking for new members from all ranks, please contact the Secretary via email.


Words © ARURS, Images © Alligin Photography, Scrumpix