12 Dec, 14:42
Prop Cian Healy is expected to miss the start of the 2014 RBS 6 Nations after undergoing surgery on his injured ankle on Wednesday.
The International Rugby Board (IRB) has announced the International Match Official appointments for the 2007 RBS 6 Nations championship, which kicks-off on February 3 next.
The appointments were made by the IRB's Referee Selection Committee after a review of elite panel referee performances throughout the year. Following the review, the composition of the International Referee and Touch Judge/TMO panels were determined for the 15 championship matches.
Steve Walsh (New Zealand) will make history when he referees the first rugby union match to be played at Croke Park, when Ireland face France at the Dublin 3 venue on February 11.
The referees for Ireland's 6 Nations fixtures are:
Wales v Ireland - Kelvin Deaker (New Zealand)
Ireland v France - Steve Walsh (New Zealand)
Ireland v England - Joel Jutge (France)
Scotland v Ireland - Dave Pearson (England)
Italy v Ireland - Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)
...Steve Walsh will be the man in the middle for the first rugby international at Croke Park when Ireland take on France next February...
Nigel Owens (Wales), Wayne Barnes (England), Marius Jonker and Craig Joubert (both South Africa) will take charge of their first RBS 6 Nations matches, while Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa) returns after undergoing minor surgery to take charge of two matches: England against France at Twickenham and Italy versus Ireland in Rome.
Irish referees Alain Rolland and Alan Lewis will take charge of one game apiece - Wales v England on the last day of the championship for Rolland, and Scotland v Wales for Lewis. Donal Courtney will operate as the Television match official for the Calcutta Cup match between Scotland and England.
For the full list of referee appointments, click here
For information on Refereeing in Ireland, click here