Hampshire Rugby Union Referees Society (HRURS) started work on the foundations built by the Gosport & Fareham RFC Referee Academy to establish hubs throughout the county and develop a Hampshire Academy,which coincided with the RFU’s Young Match Officials Scheme.

The County Youth Academy, sponsored by Donnelly & Elliott Solicitors, has been operating for some eight months, with Young Referee Development Officer, Chris Blockley-Webb running training sessions at clubs around the county. There are currently 29 young referees in Hampshire who are also part of the YMO scheme, are RFU Young Rugby Ambassadors and registered with V-Inspired, with another 15-20 referees ready for the next course.

Last month (March), the Society presented its first Youth Academy colours to 12 young referees who have shown progression, development and a level of competence which makes them able to officiate any age grade rugby match, up to and including U16s, to a safe and competent standard.

The Referee Society now works closely with their CB Youth Section, clubs, and even private tournament operators to provide officials from county trials, tournaments and festivals right through to County age grade rugby Cup and League finals.