Ayrshire Rugby Referee Goes Professional

Young referee Andrew Macpherson is turning full-time, replacing Malcolm Changleng who stepped down earlier this year as Scotland's professional referee.Young referee Andrew Macpherson is turning full-time, replacing Malcolm Changleng who stepped down earlier this year as Scotland's professional referee.

A graduate from Stirling University, Andrew previously worked as a volunteer referee alongside his job as Scottish Rugby's University and College retention manager however the move will see him dedicate all of his time to officiating matches and give him the best possible chance of progressing to elite international level.

Since refereeing his first match at Millbrae aged 18, Andrew, now 26, has regularly controlled Scottish Hydro Electric Premier Division 1 and Magners League matches, as well as European Challenge Cup matches and the 2008 U19 World Cup final.

However, the jump to professional status will see Andrew take a much greater refereeing responsibility while also having to tackle the additional demands of top level refereeing.

"My fitness programme of speed work, particularly reactionary speed, and stamina work starts at 8.30am on Monday, while I'll also receive specialist nutritional and medical support from Scottish Rugby's national fitness co-ordinator", said Andrew.

_x001C_Being a professional will give me much more time to review the match after the final whistle and also to evaluate my own performance as a referee with my refereeing coach, who can help me work on certain areas in time for the next game.

_x001C_It's a really exciting opportunity to progress and develop as a referee; it'll allow me to be the best referee I can possibly be and will give me the opportunity to gain the impetus to experience rugby at an international level - if I prove myself.

_x001C_I'd definitely encourage anyone thinking about becoming a referee to go for it. I can't even begin to describe what it's like to be out there, you get a real buzz from it - particularly with a game like Saturday when Leinster won the Magners League. I would never have played at the level I'm refereeing at so it's a fantastic experience_x001D_.

Scottish Rugby's referees manager, Roy McCombe, said: _x001C_Andrew has always indicated that he wanted to be an international referee - he's a young man with the potential to go very far into the highest echelons of rugby refereeing.

_x001C_The move is another example of the different sections of Scottish Rugby doing their part to meet the objectives set out in our strategic plan, our intention is to have two referees on the IRB panel by 2012 and Andrew's going professional is a positive step towards that goal._x001D_

The announcement comes as the Scottish women's rugby union launched a fast track scheme to encourage more referees into the blossoming women's game.

The SWRU are looking to recruit women with around five years playing experience at Premier level or above to the two year programme which aims to improve the performance of selected referees and prepare them for appointments to the Premier and international level and increase the number of female referees actively officiating in the men's, women's and international arenas.

Scottish rugby has also announced that Peter Allan (Watsonians) will referee the Tonga v Samoa game on 28 June and the Australia A v New Zealand Maori match on 6 July. Neil Paterson (Dundee HSFP) will referee at both London and Edinburgh legs of the IRB 7s series (24/25 May and 31/1 May/June) and David Changleng (Gala/Peebles) will be the touch judge at the South Africa v Italy match on 21 June.