IRFU international referees John Lacey and George Clancy will referee Test matches in Scotland and Italy next month, while France’s Mathieu Raynal and Jerome Garces and South Africa’s Marius van der Westhuizen and Jaco Peyper will have the whistle for Ireland’s four November games.
France’s Mathieu Raynal will blow the first whistle of a packed Test schedule in November with match officials having been appointed by World Rugby to take charge of no fewer than 33 internationals.
During what is an important stage in the Rugby World Cup cycle for the further development of elite match officials, a total of 26 referees – including Ireland’s John Lacey and George Clancy – have been appointed to Test matches in November.
The 35-year-old Raynal, who has previously refereed eight Tests, will take charge of the much-anticipated Ireland v New Zealand match in Soldier Field, Chicago, on Saturday, November 5 for what should be a great occasion for all rugby fans in the USA.
Raynal was the man in the middle for Ireland’s June victory over South Africa in Cape Town. His vastly-experienced French compatriot Jerome Garces will take charge of Ireland’s final GUINNESS Series match against Australia on Saturday, November 26.
The two other GUINNESS Series fixtures – Ireland also host Canada and New Zealand at the Aviva Stadium – will be refereed by South African duo Marius van der Westhuizen and Jaco Peyper respectively.
Part of the Rio Olympics Sevens match official panel, van der Westhuizen’s most recent 15s international appointment was USA v Italy in June. The 32-year-old became South Africa’s 69th Test referee at the Tbilisi Cup in 2015, a tournament which Emerging Ireland won.
Peyper last refereed Ireland in their 10-9 Six Nations defeat to France in Paris last February, while his past appointments included Ireland v Argentina at the Aviva Stadium in November 2012.
Lacey will be on duty at Scotland v Australia in Edinburgh on Saturday, November 12. His second refereeing appointment is Italy v Tonga two weeks later in Padova, with Clancy having the whistle for Italy v South Africa in Florence on Saturday, November 19.
The Munster pair also have some assistant referee appointments across the month, as do fellow IRFU match officials David Wilkinson, Dudley Phillips, Andrew Brace and Gary Conway. Peter Fitzgibbon and Simon McDowell will both be on TMO duty.
Over the course of a memorable few weeks for international rugby, all 10 tier 1 Unions will be involved as well as 15 from tier 2 and there will be seven matches involving both. The appointments include the Barbarians matches against South Africa and Fiji on November 5 and 11 respectively, with Mike Fraser and Nick Briant from New Zealand in the middle.
World Rugby Match Officials Selection Committee Chairman Anthony Buchanan said: “With a year gone since Rugby World Cup 2015, we are very much looking ahead and developing fresh talent towards RWC 2019 in Japan. November provides us with a huge number of very challenging matches for the referees, assistant referees and TMOs. This gives us the opportunity to see how some emerging match officials perform under that increased pressure and intensity which international rugby provides.
“The ultimate goal is to arrive in Japan in 2019 with an established group of top class, in-form officials with the necessary experience to perform at the highest level. Our focus continues to be clear and consistent decision-making and the highest standards of physical conditioning.”
The selection system allows for movement in and out of the panel based on form and rewards the top performers and young referees who have graduated through the performance pathway. Every performance is closely scrutinised and reviewed to ensure accountability. In addition, there is regular consultation with coaches with their feedback helping to inform selection decisions.
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