Navy Referee at Twickenham
There was a familiar face to Navy Rugby people this weekend on the sidelines at Twickenham when England took on Wales in the RBS 6 Nations Championship. Navy Referees Society Paul Burton, who is on the RFU's Elite Assistant Referees Panel, was selected to be the fifth official at the game on Saturday and will be his first taste of international rugby officiating.
53-year-old Devonian Paul, who now lives in Swindon but moved there recently from his home in Fareham with his wife Rachel, took over as Chairman of the Hampshire Society earlier this year from Simon Thomas but has been making considerable strides within the RFU Referees Panel over the last ten years.
Now a full-fledged member of the RFU's Elite AR Panel, Paul regularly finds himself with the flag at Premiership matches and in the various European Cup competitions and has received plaudits from all for his work - so much so that he has been awarded the chance to officiate at Saturday's international.
He said "I was shocked to get the call up; I had been looked at for a couple of seasons now so to finally get the call was a really good feeling."
"It is something that I have been working towards since I joined the RFU Panel a decade ago and it is a great feeling to get recognised, not only on this occasion but when I was promoted to the Elite Panel as well. It is great when you have reached the goal you have set yourself and now to be one of the top 16 Assistant Referees in the country."
Chairman of RN Referees Andy Coles was delighted to hear about his appointment and said "I am delighted to see Service rugby being represented at the highest level. Paul has worked hard for this and fully deserves his reward."As for himself, Paul hopes to continue his good work on the Elite Panel and "aim for the IRB Panel, which would be fantastic," but he is very content to have achieved his main aim of where he is now.