FEATURE: rugby365 guru Paul Dobson says it has been a year for referees, as much as any other year - a year of highs and lows.
And so to the New Year and the annual hope that the New Year will be better. It would be a great year for referees if not one was disappointed with an appointment, there was no criticism anywhere and abuse of referees was as remote a part of the past as public hanging.
In the beginning there were no referees. The need for referees is ongoing proof of the existence of original sin and human fallibility. Man could not honestly or objectively run a game. He needed somebody impartial to do the judging for him.
European Professional Club Rugby has announced the referees for Rounds 5 and 6 of the Champions Cup and the Challenge Cup.
The Irish Rugby Football Union has made Helen O'Reilly the first female appointment to its national referees' panel in a move that could eventually see her officiate in Pro12 and European Champions Cup matches.
A Joyous and Blessed Christmas to all of good will who have rugby refereeing at heart. It is a wonderful and loving time of the year that would be even greater if it lasted all year.
It's time for families to draw closer as Christmas comes and a time for rugby's social unit, the clubs, to have their time to come together. There are no Tests this weekend - just clubs in action.
World Rugby's Sevens Series enters its knock-out stage on Sunday with the quarterfinals of the cup and the bowl. Referees have been appointed to these matches and the appointments to semifinals and then the finals will depend on what happens in the quarterfinals.
The third round of the 2014-15 World Rugby Sevens Series starts in Port Elizabeth this weekend and the match officials have been appointed to each match.
World Rugby, the new name for the IRB, has announced the names of the match officials for the 2015 Six Nations including four South Africans.
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