Referee books

Books you might be interested in:

Kaplan - bookCall it like it is: The Jonathan Kaplan Story. Mike Behr, 2015

The world of the international rugby referee has always been a closely guarded secret … until now. As a Durban schoolboy, Jonathan Kaplan watched rugby at Kings Park every Saturday, dreaming of the day he would represent his country. Now, three decades later and at the age of 47, he reflects on the career highs and lows that saw him retire as the most capped international, Super Rugby and Currie Cup referee of all time. But records and milestones are just a part of an intriguing memoir that affords the reader a rare glimpse into the world of international refereeing … and what lies behind that enigmatic, penetrating glare that is as typical of Jonathan Kaplan as his silver-grey patch of hair.


Rollers bookThe Whistle Blower: A journey deep into the heart of rugby. Alain Rolland (2015)

Alain Rolland is the only Irishman to have refereed a World Cup final. Rolland’s lifetime journey through the game – from Blackrock College to Leinster, to Ireland, and onto the greatest stage in rugby when he took charge of the 2007 World Cup final in the Stade de France between South Africa and England – brings readers deep into the heart of the professional game for the first time. A former Leinster scrum-half, Rolland was capped 40 times for his province in the amateur era of the game, and also played three times for Ireland. But it is as a referee that Alain Rolland is best known and respected throughout the world. In The Whistle Blower he now gives a unique and thrilling insight to the professional game, bringing readers up close with the ‘Big Two’ in Ireland, Leinster and Munster, and also allowing readers out onto the pitch with him as he travels the world and takes charge of the greatest teams in the game – Australia, South Africa and the mighty All Blacks.Rolland’s courage as a referee brought him fame and landed him deep in controversy on occasions. The Whistle Blower now explains his biggest decisions in life, and on the playing field.

Available: Eason Books and Amazon


Rugby: A Referee’s Guide. Ed Morrison and Derek Robinson (1996)

A little outdated in terms of law, having been written in 1996, but when the Rugby World Cup Final referee and long-serving match official speaks, it’s worth a read. The advice is still relevant.

The book shows how to prepare for the big game, understand the relationship between players and referee, maintain consistent standards of refereeing and how to interpret the laws (as they were in ’96).

Available via Amazon




Half Time. Nigel Owens – The autobiography (2010)

Nigel Owens is one of the world’s leading rugby referees. Highly respected, he has officiated in many of the sport’s key matches, including the 2007 and 2011 Rugby World Cups, two consecutive Heineken Cup finals and a British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa. He was also the on-field referee in `bloodgate scandal’ match. He is also the only openly gay rugby union referee on the circuit.

Before reaching the highest echelons of the rugby world, Nigel Owens had to come to terms with the despair that drove him to attempt suicide as he struggled with his sexuality, bulimia and an addiction to steroids. An inspirational story, his autobiography is a brave and honest account of his personal struggle to overcome fear and prejudice to become one of the most respected and well known personalities in international rugby union. Available from Amazon

image Paddy O’Brien: Whistle while you work. Bob Howitt (2004)

Players and spectators want the rugby referee to be No 31, not No 1, which is why Southlander Paddy O’Brien has been such a popular adjudicator since he broke into top-level refereeing almost a decade ago. He claimed more than 160 first-class appointments, including 21 tests. Ranked among the top echelon of referees in the world, he has controlled World Cup events, Six Nations fixtures and had charge of the deciding Australia-British Lions test in Sydney in 2001.

This book was published before Paddy joined the IRB as head of officiating in 2005, a role he held until 2012.

Available here



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