Morrison and Spreadbury set for new RFU roles
December 13, 2007

Colin High is to retire as the Rugby Football Union's Elite Referee Manager in June 2008 after six years in the role. High, 66, will be succeeded by Ed Morrison, whose position as Elite Referee Development Officer will be taken by Tony Spreadbury, who recently retired from Test refereeing.

RFU elite rugby director Rob Andrew said: "Colin has been an outstanding member of the Elite Rugby and Referee unit. His enthusiasm and knowledge of the game has been instrumental in English referees being widely regarded as some of the best in the world.

"The system of post match referee performance appraisals Colin introduced has also ensured that all of our officials are accountable with the aim of helping them to improve their performance and their development."

Colin High said: "It has been a privilege to work for the RFU. We have some world class people in the organisation and in particular in refereeing. I have been fortunate to be in a position to lead refereeing into the professional era and it's thanks to the vision and investment of people at the RFU that we are able to produce world class referee's.

"I was delighted that four of our officials [three referees and one touch judge] were selected for the last RWC in France.

"I have been involved in refereeing for 30 years and it will undoubtedly be a huge wrench but it's the right time to go and I firmly believe that in Ed, Brian Campsall and Tony Spreadbury that we have a team who will take referring in this country forward even further."

A former player for Vickers in Barrow, Colin High was an RFU top 10 referee from 1979/80 until 1993. During that time he refereed New Zealand on four occasions, notably when Scotland nearly beat the All Blacks in 1990. He joined the RFU International Referee selection committee in 1993 and became its Chairman in 1995 for two years. In 1997 he was employed by the RFU as its Referee Development Manager and in 2001 took up his current position as Elite Referee manager.

Ed Morrison joined the RFU National Panel of referees in 1988 after joining the Bristol Referees Society in 1982. Ed refereed his first international (France v Scotland) in 1991 and took charge of 38 internationals including the 1995 RWC final. He retired from refereeing in 2001 and joined what was soon to become the Elite Referee unit in the same year.

'Spreaders' started refereeing when he was 17 years old and took charge of his first full Test match (Australia v France) in 1990. Tony was the referee for the opening match of the 2007 World Cup, France v Argentina, and retires as a referee at the end of this season.


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