Colin High was today presented with the IRB Referee Award for Distinguished Service 2010 in association with Emirates Airline.
During a 57-year Rugby career High has made an exceptional contribution at all levels of the Game, from playing to refereeing domestic fixtures and Test matches before establishing a reputation as one of the world’s foremost Referee Assessors.
High broke new ground when he was appointed as the RFU’s first full-time National Referees Manager in 1997, establishing the RFU’s Elite Refereeing Unit in 2001.
He drove Referee development in the professional era in England, nurturing the development of elite referee talent for the national, European and international stage, culminating with the selection of four RFU Referees for Rugby World Cup 2007 in France.
"The IRB Referee Award for Distinguished Service recognises those who have contributed significantly to the area of officiating and there are few who have given more to Referee development than Colin High. His contribution to the Game over nearly six decades as a player, Referee, Referee Manager and IRB Referee Assessor is nothing short of exceptional,” said IRB Chief Executive Mike Miller, who was in London to present High with his award.
"Colin pioneered Referee development and ensured that the RFU were always well represented on the IRB’s Elite Panel. We are very fortunate to have someone of Colin's calibre as part of our Referee development process, and thank him for his dedication and commitment to this key area of our Game.”
Ed Morrison, RFU Head of Elite Referee Development, said: “Colin’s contribution to refereeing cannot be underestimated. He was the pioneer for the giant strides that have been made in refereeing and everyone in the Game should be grateful for the huge contribution he has and continues to make. No-one is more deserving of this award.”
From his early days with the Cumbria Referees Society, the Manchester Referees Society, and the RFU and the IRB, High has served Rugby and Rugby Referees with distinction, pride, dedication and enthusiasm.
High has also assisted Unions, including Russia, Romania, Uruguay and Morocco, to improve officiating in their regions, whilst providing opportunities for young English referees to experience international Rugby cultures through exchange schemes and Test match officiating.
The IRB Referee Award for Distinguished Service is the fifth of the IRB Awards in association with Emirates Airline to be presented in 2010. In May, Samoa's Mikaele Pesamino was named IRB Sevens Player of the Year, while New Zealand's Julian Savea was named IRB Junior Player of the Year in June. Women’s Rugby World Cup winner Carla Hohepa of New Zealand was presented with the IRB Women’s Personality of the Year award in September and Brian O'Shea received the IRB Development Award last month.
2009 - Francis Palmade
2008 - Andre Watson
2007 - Dick Byres
2006 - Peter Marshall
2005 - Paddy O'Brien
2004 - Jim Fleming
2003 - Derek Bevan
2002 - Colin Hawke
2001 - Ed Morrison
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