Former IRFU international referee Alain Rolland has been named World Rugby’s High Performance 15s Match Officials Manager to replace Joël Jutge, who decided to stand down after four successful years in the role.
During an illustrious international career that started in 2001, Alain Rolland refereed a total of 66 Tests, including two Rugby World Cup quarter-finals (2003 and 2007), one semi-final (2011) and the 2007 final between England and South Africa in Paris.
A former scrum half who was capped three times as a player for his native Ireland, he also took charge of three European Cup finals (in 2004, 2013 and 2014), while his final international was the Six Nations 2014 clash between Wales and France in Cardiff.
Since retiring as an active referee, Rolland has been working closely with the Competitions and Performance department of World Rugby as a consultant and, during Rugby World Cup 2015, assisted tier two teams in identifying ways to reduce unforced errors, successfully ensuring an improvement in those teams’ on-field discipline and contributing to the most competitive Rugby World Cup ever.
He has also been involved in the training and development of television match officials coming through to the top end of the game.
Chairman of the World Rugby Match Officials Selection Panel, John Jeffrey, said: “We are delighted to announce Alain’s appointment to this important and challenging role. As a referee, he was consistently one of the best in the world for many years, showing a deep understanding of and empathy for the game.
“Since then, he has stayed involved and has worked as a consultant for World Rugby and a number of member unions, applying that knowledge and experience to coaching and developing the next crop of elite match officials.
“As previously stated, Joël (Jutge) has done a great job in this role over the past four years and I am sure Alain will build on that progress as we continue to improve refereeing standards and consistency at the highest level.”
Rolland commented: “This is a hugely exciting opportunity to stay involved in our great game and I am looking forward to it immensely. It will be an honour and a privilege to work with the world’s best referees while also being involved in identifying and coaching the top younger match officials who will be the Rugby World Cup referees of the future.”