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Marius Mitrea - new referee getting ahead

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Marius Mitrea will be refereeing in France this weekend, then in Wales and then in England. He is one of Italy's most promising 'new' referees.

If his name seems unItalian, that is because his parents came from Galati on the Danube delta, the second biggest port in Romania. Their son was born in Galati on 25 February 1982. His father moved to Treviso and so did Marius after he had finished high school, a remarkably cosmopolitan man for he speaks five languages - Italian, Romanian, Spanish, French and English. He now lives in Postioma which is near Treviso and so in the heartland of Italian rugby.

Marius had played rugby in Galati and it was easy for him to play in Italy, giving him the chance to make friend and integrate. And he got a good job - international freight.

He got into refereeing in the usual way - doing it occasionally and then, after an injury, seriously. In 2006 he became a referee. his first match was an Under-15 match in Padua. "I was excited and curious in the new experience, but I really liked being there on the field. So I decided to quit as a player and do only the referee, helped by more experienced colleagues."

In 2010 he refereed his first Test match - Canada vs Belgium. Since then he has also refereed Moldova vs Czech Republic and Georgia vs Portugal, the top match in the European Nations Cup this year. He has also refereed Pro 12, Amlin Challenge Cup matches and age-group internationals, including the Junior World Trophy matches.

Coming off playing, he claims, helped him as he could meet the captains as equals. "On the field I do not want to be a policeman. I am just there to help the two teams to play and have more fun. But the pressure of thirty players on the field is always intense. It takes a strong and determined character to handle more controversial situations."

Marius Mitrea is well on his way to becoming a top referee - one step at a time, as he advises is the best way.

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