Lacey to hang up whis­tle and men­tor refs for IRFU

Irish Examiner - Sport - - RUGBY -

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.”

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