The official could move into defence coaching at Montpellier, according to reports in France

Alexandre Ruiz to move from refereeing to coaching

Test referee Alexandre Ruiz is set to quit refereeing and become an assistant coach at Montpellier, according to reports in France.

French sports newspaper Midi Olympique have reported that Ruiz, 34, will oversee the defence at Montpellier Herault from next season. Recently Montpellier won the Challenge Cup against Leicester, but their Top 14 form has been poor and the French giants have conceded 574 points this season, with a points difference of just -20 after 25 rounds.

According to Midi Libre, the referee has said: “I have not signed anything at all. I am still in contract with the French Rugby Federation (FFR)”, however, it is being widely reported that Ruiz will take up a role at the club, with incumbent Jean-Baptiste Elissalde moving to the offensive side of the game to continue coaching at the club. 

Alexandre Ruiz

Montpellier won the European Challenge Cup (Getty Images)

Ruiz began officiating in 2006, at just 19 and has enjoyed a rapid rise through the French game. In 2010 he was an officiating fixture in the ProD2 but just a year later he was being seen in the Top 14. His first Test match was a European Nations Cup fixture between Georgia and Russia, in 2014.

If he does make the switch, Ruiz would not be the first ref to segue into coaching.

Shortly after missing out on selection as an official for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, former Saracens fly-half Glen Jackson hung up his whistle. Not long after that, he joined Vern Cotter’s backroom team, looking after Fiji.

At the age of 45, New Zealander Jackson has over ten years on his French counterpart, Ruiz. And in terms of coaching, both could have long careers ahead of them.

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