Pioneering Partnership Boosts Refereeing In Scotland

A partnership between Scottish Rugby and one of its major sponsors is the highlight of a range of developments designed to boost refereeing at all levels in Scotland, which are being unveiled today. Scotland's top referee for the past two seasons, Peter Allan, will become a professional referee for the next two years as a result of the arrangement between his employer, RBS, and Scottish Rugby.A partnership between Scottish Rugby and one of its major sponsors is the highlight of a range of developments designed to boost refereeing at all levels in Scotland, which are being unveiled today.

Scotland's top referee for the past two seasons, Peter Allan, will become a professional referee for the next two years as a result of the arrangement between his employer, RBS, and Scottish Rugby.

Allan (Watsonians) will thus join Andrew Macpherson (West of Scotland Referees' Society) as full-time referees with specialist support available to them in coaching, fitness, conditioning and nutrition, as both strive to reach the international referees' panel.

Allan, currently a property project manager with the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, and who has been a regular touch-judge and TMO at international level since 2006, will remain an employee of the bank but will be seconded to the role of full-time referee.

He said: "The bank and in particular the Senior Leadership Team in Group Property have been absolutely brilliant about this. In many ways it's enhancing RBS's investment in sport and it's giving me the best possible chance of refereeing at the highest level of the game, with the Rugby World Cup of 2011 the target."

Colin Thomson, Scottish Rugby's Head of Community Rugby, declared: _x001C_We are most grateful to RBS for their support in allowing Peter to pursue full-time refereeing. Peter's appointment, alongside Andrew Macpherson who was recruited earlier in the summer, is hugely significant.

_x001C_Our full-time refereeing posts are the icing on the cake of a comprehensive plan to improve both the number and standard of referees in Scotland. Clearly if we are to reach the targets set out in our strategic plan, where we aim to have 38,000 adult and youth players by 2012, an increase of 11,000 from last year, then we must ensure that we have an increase in the numbers of referees too and support them in their development as referees,_x001D_ Thomson added.

Roy McCombe, Scottish Rugby's referees' manager, explained that as part of the support network available to our high performance referees - Allan, Macpherson, Neil Patterson (Dundee HSFP) and Graham Knox (Greenock Wanderers) - two part-time coaches had been recruited.

_x001C_I'm delighted that we are appointing Bill Calder and Colin High to these roles. Bill has a wealth of experience in Scottish Rugby and successfully managed major recruitment drives at the same time as developing top-class referees, while Colin, a former international referee, set up the elite refereeing group in England and it's a ringing endorsement of what we're seeking to achieve that someone of his status wants to come on board._x001D_

In other developments Scottish Rugby is launching a senior academy aimed at referees who have the potential to become members of the high performance group within two years.

The first four referees selected to this group are Andrew McMenemy (Gala), Cammy Rudkin (Hawick), Gary Gordon (Stirling County) and David Walker (Irvine).

The new senior academy will operate alongside the junior academy - which was launched last year aimed at referees who have the potential to officiate at Scottish Hydro Electric Premiership Division 3 level or above within two years of joining that academy. A new intake for the junior academy will be announced shortly with both junior and senior academies operating under the direction of Iain Heard, one of Scottish Rugby's referee development managers.

Note to editors: Peter Allan
DOB - 19/01/1975, born in Edinburgh.
Educated at George Watson's College in Edinburgh
Married to Sally with one son Finlay (aged 7 weeks)
Been refereeing for six seasons after injury ended playing career.

Highlights: -
U19 RWC in SA in 2005
IRB 7s circuit 2006 (including Commonwealth Games in Melbourne)
Magners League referee since October 2005
Challenge Cup debut in January 2006
Heineken Cup debut in October 2006
Appointed to the IRB Touch Judge Panel in October 2006
Regular Touch Judge and TMO in Autumn Internationals and RBS 6 Nations games since October 2006
Refereed Georgia v Spain in RWC Qualifying
Refereed QF and SF of Challenge Cup in April 2008

Andrew Macpherson
DOB 06/04/82, born in Leicester
Educated at Belmont Academy in Ayr and Stirling University
Engaged to Louise
Highlights:-
First Magners League Game - 2006 Cardiff v Connacht
First Premier 1 - 2005 Ayr v Stirling County
IRB U19 World Championship Final 2006 - NZ v Australia
First European Challenge Cup Match - 2006 - GRAN Parma v Narbonne
Refereed IRB 7s in Dubai and George 2006
Churchill Cup 2007 and 2008
Age Grade Internationals at U18, U19 and U20 level
IRB Nations Cup 2006
FIRA Internationals - Spain vs. Russia (2007) and Romania vs. Russia (2007)