The Ireland team may have bowed out of the 2007 World Cup in Paris on Sunday but there will still be an Irish presence in the tournament’s quarter-finals courtesy of Alain Rolland and Alan Lewis’ appointments as referees for two of next weekend’s games.
Rolland has been selected to referee Saturday’s repeat of the 2003 World Cup final between England and Australia at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille (kick-off 2pm Irish time/3pm local time).
The Dublin-born mortgage broker has refereed three games at the 2007 tournament already – Wales v Canada, France v Namibia and England v Tonga.
It will be Rolland’s second time refereeing a World Cup quarter-final. The former Ireland scrum half was the man in the middle for eventual champions England’s quarter-final win over Wales in Brisbane four years ago.
Lewis will also be in Marseille next weekend as he will be the man in the middle for Sunday’s intriguing clash between South Africa and Fiji at the Stade Velodrome (kick-off 2pm Irish time/3pm local time).
Lewis, who manages an insurance brokerage in Dublin, had only refereed one World Cup match before the current tournament began. But he has performed well in his three refereeing appearances in the pool stages, taking charge of the Australia v Japan, England v Samoa and France v Georgia ties.
It has been quite a year for the former Ireland cricket international who refereed four finals during the 2006/07 season, including last May’s Heineken Cup decider at Twickenham.
The referees for next weekend’s other World Cup quarter-finals are England’s Wayne Barnes – he will whistle Saturday’s mouth-watering meeting of New Zealand and France in Cardiff – and Frenchman Joel Jutge, who will take charge of Sunday’s showdown between Argentina and Scotland in Paris.
Another Irishman will be on duty at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium for the All Blacks’ clash with the tournament hosts – experienced Ulster man Stephen Hilditch, who refereed at the 1987, 1991 and 1995 World Cups, has been appointed as the assessor for that game.
Congratulations to all three men on their appointments from IrishRugby.ie. If you would like to become involved in rugby refereeing in Ireland or want a refereeing contact in your area, please click here.
ALAIN ROLLAND (IRELAND):
Full name: Alain Colm Pierre Rolland
Born: Dublin, August 22, 1966
First Test: Wales v Romania on September 19, 2001
Latest Test: England v Tonga on September 28, 2007
Number of Tests: 29
World Cup experience: 2003 and 2007. He has refereed six World Cup matches.
ALAN LEWIS (IRELAND):
Full name: Alan Lewis
Born: Cork, June 1, 1964
First Test: Argentina v France on June 13, 1998
Latest Test: France v Georgia on September 30, 2007
Number of Tests: 31
World Cup experience: 1999, 2003 and 2007. He has refereed four World Cup matches.