Gala Ref Goes Pro

Rugby referee Andrew McMenemy has set his sights on the international stage following his appointment as a full-time referee.

Along side Premier 1 matches, the 25-year old has spent the past two seasons officiating in the IRB Sevens World Series. He joins Andrew Macpherson as one of the governing body's two full-time professional referees on the high performance group of five who work in the professional game.

McMenemy takes the place of Peter Allan following the conclusion of his secondment from his employer, though Allan remains in the group as one of Scottish rugby's top referees.

Rugby referee Andrew McMenemy has set his sights on the international stage following his appointment as a full-time referee.

Along side Premier 1 matches, the 25-year old has spent the past two seasons officiating in the IRB Sevens World Series. He joins Andrew Macpherson as one of the governing body's two full-time professional referees on the high performance group of five who work in the professional game.

McMenemy takes the place of Peter Allan following the conclusion of his secondment from his employer, though Allan remains in the group as one of Scottish rugby's top referees.

McMenemy said: "I'm delighted to get this opportunity - it's still a bit surreal at the moment but I'm desperate to get started.

"The IRB Sevens World Series has exposed me to large crowds and big match atmosphere but the Magners League is the first step towards my long-term objective of getting on the International Rugby Board's (IRB) elite panel - the pool of referees used for tier 1 and 2 international matches.

"Refereeing an international match would be a massive honour but I know I have to work towards it by focussing on Magners and European championship matches, building a rapport with and earning the respect of the players."

It's been almost ten years since Scotland was represented on the IRB's panel of international referees, the most recent being Jim Fleming who stepped down in 2001.

Since then the selection process for international referees has changed significantly. An IRB appointed panel selects referees for it's own approved group while, previously, each union was responsible for selecting and appointing able referees directly to a pool for international selection.

To tackle this, Scottish Rugby restructured its approach to refereeing in 2007 and now channels its efforts into a high performance group who receive concentrated coaching and support to prepare them for Heineken Cup and, ultimately, selection by the IRB on the international panel - with three of the current group (Andrew Macpherson, Neil Paterson and Changleng David) recently appointed to the IRB's assistant referee panel.

Scottish Rugby referee manager, Roy McCombe, said: "We pick the guys who have the most potential and give them concentrated support, like being in an academy as a player. You pick the best of the talent and give them that extra assistance to help them fulfil their potential.

"Andrew McMenemy is considered one of Scotland's top officiating prospects with a long career ahead of him. Our intention is to have him ready for international action as soon as possible, based on a solid grounding of professional rugby to allow him to take his place alongside the next generation of international referees."

Scottish Rugby high performance referees
Andy Macpherson, Andrew McMenemy (full-time), Peter Allan, Neil Paterson, Graham Knox