Navy Referees Meet In New ZealandIn Australia in support of the Navy team taking part in the International Defence Rugby Competition Lt Cdr Tim Bailey was able to meet up with an old friend of the Referees Society. Stu Clarke, a level 6 referee with considerable experience, left the Navy and the United Kingdom nearly 5 years ago and after 6 months as a civilian he joined the New Zealand Navy. On arriving in NZ he immediately got involved with both the North Harbour Referees Association in Auckland and the New Zealand Defence Force Referees Association. He has had numerous highlights; the primary ones being the referee for this year's NZ Inter Services match between the RNZAF v NZ Army and, in 2008, officiating at the Pacific Nations Military Competition earning the NZDF Colour. He has also officiated in Australia, Singapore & Malaysia.
Stu said of his move down under "It has been a life changing experience emigrating to the other side of the world but equally it has been great to continue my refereeing development in NZ. It was a privilege to referee the Inter Services this year but I am still striving to be a better referee. I'm also hoping to be part of the 2012 Commonwealth Cup Officials Squad."
Tim was involved with the preparation of the Navy team for their matches as part of the competition giving them an insight into the interpretations of the referees that were drawn from Australia, New Zealand, France, Samoa as well as the United Kingdom. The officials were accommodated together which gave them a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in rugby.
Tim said of the experience "I am indebted to the RN for giving me this opportunity to travel with the RN squad to help the in their preparations for matches, but also to be able to mix with referees from other cultures and understand some differences in interpretations between the northern and southern hemispheres".
The highlight of the trip was travelling to NZ to officiate in the semi finals and finals of the competition and to be able to soak up the atmosphere in Auckland during the final week of the Rugby World Cup. During this week the officials met up with some World Cup referees who took time out of their busy schedule to watch some of the competition final and tell some of their stories of the World Cup.