Thursday, January 28, 2010

Local official will be on duty for Six Nations clash

ATHLONE-based rugby official Eddie Walsh has been selected to fill the role of Citing Commissioner at an upcoming high-profile RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship clash.

Walsh, who lives in Ballykeeran, Athlone, and is originally from Tullamore, Co Offaly, has been appointed to preside over the meeting of Wales and Italy at the 75,000 Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on March 20.

The Athlone official, who will be representing Buccaneers RFC, Connacht and the IRFU, was recently involved in a friendly match between Italy and Western Samoa in Ascoli, and is also pencilled in for a World Cup qualifier between Georgia and Spain in Tbilisi.Walsh, a regular appointment to Magners League and Heineken Cup games, becomes the first official from Connacht to officiate at a Six Nations match.

The Ballykeeran resident also has extensive experience of officiating at under-21 and A internationals, and acted as Citing Commissioner during the Leinster v Ulster Magners League match on St Stephen's Day.

Walsh said: "In rugby terms this is a huge appointment and obviously I'm delighted about it. It's a bit of a breakthrough for Connacht officials and will hopefully encourage fellow officials. I'm really looking forward to the game and it's fantastic to be involved at Six Nations level. The Millennium Stadium is one of the greatest stadiums in world sport, so it's great it's taking place there. But obviously I've a big job to do and will have to be fully concentrated throughout."

In rugby union, a citing commissioner is an independent official - appointed by the competition organiser, the union in which the match is taking place, or the International Rugby Board - who is responsible for citing players who commit foul play which is not detected by the match officials.

Teams may bring offences to the attention of the citing commissioner for review. The citing commissioner may cite a player even if the referee has already dealt with the issue (except where he has ordered a player from the field).

When there is no citing commissioner, the teams participating in the match have the right to cite players, but may only cite a player for an infringement which the match officials have not dealt with. A player who is cited is called to a hearing to show cause why he should not be treated as having been sent off for the alleged offence. The player is entitled to be represented. The hearing usually takes place before three independent persons nominated by the union or the competition organiser, and is generally convened within a week of the match in question. If the offence is proven, the panel issues a penalty, usually in the form of a suspension for a number of weeks.

Ireland V Wales Hospitality

Italy V England Hospitality

Six Nations Hospitality

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