Two of the world’s most experienced referees will take charge of next week’s Dublin 2013 European club rugby finals with appointments of Alain Rolland to the Heineken Cup final and of Nigel Owens to the Amlin Challenge Cup final.
The two European club deciders will also mark a milestone as ref cam will be in use for the first time in major rugby finals.
Both officials for the high profile clashes – Clermont Auvergne v Toulon and Leinster v Stade Francais – will be fitted with the ref cam device by host broadcasters, Sky Sports, which will enable viewers to experience innovative close-quarter footage from the referee’s perspective.
Ireland’s Alain Rolland will be refereeing his second Heineken Cup final – having taken charge of the 2004 decider between London Wasps and Toulouse – and a record 72nd tournament match which eclipses his compatriot Alan Lewis’ old mark of 71.
Rolland has refereed seven European fixtures this season including last month’s Heineken Cup semi-final between Saracens and Toulon.
His assistant referees for the 2013 final on Saturday, May 18 will be Wayne Barnes (England) and George Clancy (Ireland).
Welshman Owens, meanwhile, will be refereeing a fifth European final in the space of seven seasons when he takes charge of the Amlin Challenge Cup decider on Friday, May 17.
He was previously appointed to the 2007 Amlin Challenge Cup final between Clermont Auvergne and Bath, and he was also in control of the 2008, 2009 and 2012 Heineken Cup finals.
His assistant referees at the RDS will be Leighton Hodges and Ian Davies, both of Wales.
The Dublin 2013 finals match official appointments were announced on Tuesday following a meeting of the ERC Match Officials sub-committee.
The meeting reviewed match official performances across all relevant tournaments in conjunction with feedback from the referee managers in each Union and from club coaching staff.
AMLIN CHALLENGE CUP FINAL:
Friday, May 17 –
LEINSTER v Stade Francais, the RDS, 8pm
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales); Assistant Referees: Leighton Hodges, Ian Davies (both Wales); TMO: Gareth Simmonds (Wales); Citing Commissioner: Maurizio Vancini (Italy)
HEINEKEN CUP FINAL:
Saturday, May 18 –
Clermont Auvergne v Toulon, Aviva Stadium, 5pm
Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland); Assistant Referees: Wayne Barnes (England), George Clancy (Ireland); TMO: Marshall Kilgore (Ireland); Citing Commissioner: Murray Whyte (Ireland)