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Rolland To Referee Six Nations Opener

Rolland To Referee Six Nations Opener

The International Rugby Board has announced the match official appointments for the 2011 RBS 6 Nations Championship, which will be played between February 4 and March 19.

Alain Rolland and George Clancy have been selected to referee matches during the upcoming tournament.

Four more Irish officials – Alan Lewis, Simon McDowell, John Lacey and Peter Fitzgibbon – have secured appointments as assistant referees, while Tony Redmond will be on duty as a television match official.

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Rolland, who refereed the 2007 Rugby World Cup final, will take charge of the opening match of the 2011 RBS 6 Nations Championship on February 4 when Wales face England in the only Friday night fixture.

The former Leinster and Ireland scrum half will referee the Scotland v Italy game on the Championship’s final day on Saturday, March 19.

Limerick man Clancy has also been given a Murrayfield appointment – the Scotland v Wales clash on Saturday, February 12.

Meanwhile, England’s Dave Pearson will be the man in the middle for the first ever Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, when Ireland entertain France on Sunday, February 13.

The referee appointments for Ireland’s tournament fixtures are as follows: Ireland v Italy, Romain Poite (France); Ireland v France, Dave Pearson (England); Scotland v Ireland, Nigel Owens (Wales); Wales v Ireland, Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa) and Ireland v England, Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand).

The appointments were made by the IRB match official selection committee at its meeting in Dublin this week, following a comprehensive review of international referee, assistant referee and television match official performances during the recent November Tests.

With the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand now less than 10 months away, the appointments will give the world’s top referees a further chance to cement their place on the IRB panel for rugby’s global showcase tournament.

In total, there are 10 referees selected for the 15 Championship matches.

IRB Council member David Pickering, who chaired the selection committee, said: “We are beginning the countdown towards the Rugby World Cup and a streamlined panel of 10 top referees who will officiate at the tournament.

“However, there are still 10 months to go until the showcase tournament kicks off and there is plenty of time for places to be secured.

“We have worked hard on consistency across the board and referees and coaches have universally bought into the strict application of five key areas of law.

“Collectively, we are focused on further promoting consistency across all areas of officiating to ensure that those selected for the 2011 Rugby World Cup are the best and that they will be in peak physical and performance condition for what promises to be a special tournament.”

Click here to view the full list of match official appointments for the 2011 RBS 6 Nations.

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