Lacey to hang up whistle and mentor refs for IRFU
Test referee John Lacey is to hang up his whistle to take up a role with the IRFU as a high-performance tutor and coach to officials.
Lacey, 45, is the third most capped Test referee in Irish rugby history, taking charge of 37 international matches — of which 30 were Tests — since 2010. He also handled four games at the 2015 World Cup in England, including the bronze medal game between South Africa and Argentina.
Lacey will take charge of his final international when Argentina face the Barbarians at Twickenham on December 1 and will continue to officiate at European and PRO14 level until the end of the current season, before taking up his new role.
World Rugby’s Anthony Buchanan led tributes to Lacey, who represented Ireland Sevens, Ireland A and Munster before taking up the whistle.
“As a senior member of the international panel in recent years, he has played a strong role in mentoring and suppor- ting the younger members of the group and it is these qualities that will be to the fore as he begins an exciting new chapter in his career.”
IRFU head of referees Dudley Phillips added: “He has always looked to assist younger referees and develop and progress their careers, which makes his new role such a good fit. We look forward to John joining the referee department and working with the dedicated referee development managers, to identify and develop Irish refereeing talent.”