Navy Referees in International Duties

Two Royal Navy Officials have been on duty during the Autumn International Series.  The first opportunity came to former CPO (SM) (Paul) Burton (Abbeywood) who is regularly in the limelight as an Assistant Referee in the Aviva Premiership.  He was selected to be the fifth official for the England Fiji match at Twickenham in front of a packed house.  His duties include ensuring that the substitutions, sin bins and blood replacements are handled in a timely and respectful manner; emotions can get extremely high when international caps are on the line. 

Paul said of his experience "It is fantastic to be involved with high profile events and I relished the atmosphere that was generated from the crowd in Twickenham.  Unfortunately you don't get to see the entire match especially in the second half when all the substitutions are taking place so I had to watch the game on TV later".

Paul will continue his progress as an elite Assistant Referee when he officiates in Ireland for his first Heineken Cup encounter between Connacht and Biarritz which is a televised match.

Lt Cdr (Tim) Bailey (HMS Collingwood) was the second official on duty; he was an assistant referee at the women's test match between England and New Zealand at Aldershot.  The match was always going to be a tense affair with England wanting to wrap up the series having won the first encounter the previous week.  As expected the result was in doubt right up until the last five minutes and was generally considered a great advert for women's rugby. 

Tim commented after the match, "It was a great honour to be selected for any international.  I approached the game with the mind-set that the game should be the centre of attention and not the officials which meant concentration had to be 100% for 80 minutes.  To that end the team achieved a great result and the game was centre stage".

If you feel you have what it takes to become a referee and have "the best seat in the house" form anything from ship's to international matches the Royal Navy Refereeing Society can help you along the path and get you started. If you are interested in taking up the whistle please contact Cdr Andy Coles on 01752 555313 or by email at