John Lacey (rugby union)

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John Lacey
John Lacey 2015 RWC.jpg
Date of birth (1973-10-12) 12 October 1973 (age 46)
Place of birthTipperary, Ireland
Height1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Weight80 kg (12 st 8 lb; 176 lb)
SchoolAbbey CBS
UniversityDublin Institute of Technology
HSI College of Business, Limerick
Rugby union career
Position(s) Winger/Full-back
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
Sundays Well
Provincial / State sides
Years Team Apps (Points)
1995–1999 Munster 12 (45)
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
199x–20xx Ireland Ireland A
National sevens team(s)
Years Team Comps
199x–20xx Ireland Ireland Sevens
Refereeing career
Years Competition Apps
Munster Schools Junior Cup
All-Ireland League
Celtic League/Pro14
IRB Nations Cup
European Rugby Challenge Cup
European Rugby Champions Cup
IRB Junior World Championship
Test Matches
European Nations Cup
Summer Internationals
Autumn Internationals
Six Nations Championship
Rugby Championship
Rugby World Cup

John Lacey is a former Ireland A and Ireland Sevens rugby union international and current rugby union referee. As a player, Lacey spent most of career with Shannon in the All-Ireland League. He also represented Munster. As an international referee he has taken charge of matches in the Six Nations Championship, the Rugby Championship and the Rugby World Cup. He also refereed the 2013 Pro12 Grand Final and the 2015–16 and 2016–17 European Rugby Challenge Cup finals.

Early years[edit]

Between 1986 and 1991 Lacey attended Abbey CBS in Tipperary where he studied for his Leaving Certificate. His classmates included Alan Quinlan. Between 1991 and 1993 he attended the Dublin Institute of Technology where he gained a diploma in hotel and catering management. Between 1993 and 1994 he attended HSI College of Business, Limerick where he gained a diploma in travel and tourism.[1][2][3]

Playing career[edit]


Lacey began his playing career with Clanwilliam before joining Sundays Well. In 1997 he switched to Shannon and was subsequently a prominent member of their team that won five All-Ireland League titles, four Munster Senior League titles [Note 1] and eight Munster Senior Cups [Note 2]. Lacey was a prolific try scorer in the AIL, touching down on 57 occasions – including 10 for Sundays Well. In 2003 he became the first player to score 50 tries in the AIL. While playing at club level, Lacey also worked for Allied Irish Banks and as sales representative for the East Cork Oil Company before becoming a coach development officer for Munster Rugby in 1999.[1][3][4][5][6][7][8]


In December 1995, aged 18, Lacey made his debut for Munster in a friendly against Transvaal. On 7 September 1997 Lacey scored a try as he made his Heineken Cup debut in a 1997–98 pool stage game against Harlequins. Lacey scored four tries in six Heineken Cup appearances for Munster. He also scored five tries in six Irish Interprovincial Rugby Championship appearances as he helped Munster win two titles.[1][3][5][6][9][10]

Ireland international[edit]

At international level, Lacey played for both Ireland A and the Ireland Sevens.[1][2][5]

Refereeing career[edit]

John Lacey officiating Pacific Nations Cup Match at Chichibunomiya Stadium on 17 June 2012, in which Samoa defeated Japan 27-26

Early years[edit]

In April 2007, while still working as a coach development officer for Munster Rugby, Lacey agreed to take charge of a Munster Schools Junior Cup quarter-final between St Munchin's College and CBC after the original referee failed to show up. He subsequently began refereeing games in the All-Ireland League before making his Celtic League debut on 28 November 2008 when he took charge of a game between Edinburgh and the Ospreys.[2][11][12][13]

European competitions[edit]

By 2009–10 Lacey was taking charge of matches in the European Challenge Cup.[14] On 8 October 2010 Lacey made his debut as a Heineken Cup referee when he took charge of a 2010–11 pool stage game between Northampton Saints and Castres Olympique. This saw Lacey become the third referee, after Alain Rolland and Malcolm Changleng, to both play in and referee Heineken Cup matches.[15] Lacey has subsequently refereed the 2013 Pro12 Grand Final,[16] and the 2015–16 [17] and 2016–17 European Rugby Challenge Cup finals [18]

International referee[edit]

Lacey gained his first experience as an international referee at the 2009 IRB Nations Cup.[1] On 27 March 2010 he took charge of his first senior international, a European Nations Cup match between Romania and Spain.[2][19] Lacey subsequently took charge of pool stage matches and semi-finals at both the 2010 and 2011 IRB Junior World Championships.[1][20][3] In 2012 Lacey began to referee top level international games. On 27 May 2012 he took charge of a match between England and the Barbarians at Twickenham Stadium.[2] In June he took charge of two matches at the IRB Pacific Nations Cup.[21] On 24 November 2012 Lacey took charge of a match between France and Samoa at the Stade de France. [6] On 1 February 2014 Lacey made his debut as a Six Nations Championship referee when he took charge of a match between Wales and Italy at the Millennium Stadium.[5] On 16 August 2014 Lacey made his debut as a Rugby Championship referee when he took charge of a match between South Africa and Argentina at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium.[22][23] Lacey also served as a referee at the 2015 Rugby World Cup and took charge of the bronze final between South Africa and Argentina.[24][3][13][25] In October 2017, together with Andrew Brace, George Clancy and Joy Neville, Lacey was one of seven referees offered professional contracts by the IRFU.[11]


Munster Rugby



  • ^1 Possibly includes a title won with Sundays Well.
  • ^2 Some sources say seven, others say eight.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Lacey Continues Progress As Referee". 17 June 2010. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Lacey goes to Twickenham". 25 May 2012. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "John Lacey". Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  4. ^ "Shannon unveil three new faces". 21 November 1997. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d e "My job in Munster: John Lacey Coach Development Officer". 31 October 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  6. ^ a b c "Lacey To Referee First Full International". 11 October 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  7. ^ "Club Profile: Shannon". 18 May 2006. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  8. ^ "Lacey Gets 50, but Shannon fail to Impress". 17 November 2003. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  9. ^ "John Lacey: Munster Rugby 1st Team Squad". Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  10. ^ "Brave Munster no match for a multi-national". 8 September 1997. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  11. ^ a b "Seven Irish referees awarded with professional contracts". 23 October 2017. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  12. ^ "John Lacey". 23 October 2017. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  13. ^ a b "Rugby – John Lacey, from Junior Cup to World Cup". 30 October 2015. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  14. ^ "Munster Referees on the International Stage". 9 April 2010. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  15. ^ "Irish Referees Earn Further Honours". 6 September 2010. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  16. ^ "Jamie Heaslip gives Leinster RaboDirect Pro12 title win over Ulster". 25 May 2013. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  17. ^ "European Challenge Cup final: Harlequins 19-26 Montpellier". 13 May 2016. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  18. ^ "Stade Français power past Gloucester in European Challenge Cup final". 12 May 2017. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  19. ^ "Rugby International News". 27 March 2010. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  20. ^ "Lacey Selected For Junior World Championship Duty". 21 April 2011. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  21. ^ a b "Donnacha Ryan Scoops Player Of The Year". 8 May 2012. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  22. ^ "Lacey, Championship Referee". 23 June 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  23. ^ "Clancy And Lacey To Referee In Rugby Championship". 24 June 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  24. ^ "Clancy And Lacey To Referee At Rugby World Cup". 7 April 2015. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  25. ^ "South Africa 24 Argentina 13, match report: JP Pietersen and Eben Etzebeth tries secure third place for Springboks". 30 October 2015. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  26. ^ "Persistence pays off for Munster's gentle giant". 7 May 2012. Retrieved 7 January 2018.