The 39 years old Dublin based company financial director, who was on the panel of touch judges in the recent Rugby World Cup in Australia, has been nominated to take charge of the Wales - Scotland game in Cardiff on the 14th of February.
A former first team player with Monkstown RFC, until a serious shoulder injury ended his career in 1990, Courtney, who took up refereeing four years in 1994, said today: It a fantastic news. I am delighted to have been given this honour and I believe it is recognition for the IRFU's High Performance Referee Development programme, run under the guidance of Owen Doyle.
Highly regarded as one of the new generation referees, Courtney's elevation to Six Nations status sees him join the 2004 panel, alongside Alan Lewis who will referee France v Italy on February 21st and Alain Rolland who will take charge of the March 27th showdown in Paris between France and England.
The referee appointments for the 2004 Six Nations championship are:February14th - France v Ireland - Chris White (ENG)14th - Wales v Scotland - Donal Courtney (IRE)15th - Italy v England - Andy Turner (SA)21st - France v Italy - Alan Lewis (IRE)21st - Scotland v England - Pablo Deluca (ARG)22nd - Ireland v Wales - Joel Jutge (FRA)March