Wales’ Nigel Owens will referee Ireland’s NatWest 6 Nations opener against France in Paris on Saturday, February 3, following confirmation today of the match official appointments for the 2018 Championship.
A team of 18 referees/assistant referees and seven TMOs will take charge of the Six Nations matches, with France’s Pascal Gauzere refereeing the opening game between Wales and Scotland at the Principality Stadium on Saturday, February 3.
IRFU international referee John Lacey will take charge of Scotland v France in the second round in Edinburgh, while both Lacey and Andrew Brace will be on duty as assistant referees during the Championship along with TMO Simon McDowell.
Nigel Owens will be the man in the middle when Ireland kick off the Six Nations away to France on Saturday, February 3, with the final round meeting of England and Ireland at Twickenham on St. Patrick’s Day will be handled by Australia’s Angus Gardner.
In between those fixtures, Joe Schmidt’s men have three outings at the Aviva Stadium where France’s Romain Poite (Ireland v Italy), New Zealand’s Glen Jackson (Ireland v Wales) and England’s Wayne Barnes (Ireland v Scotland) will officiate as the match referees.
In what is another important preparation stage on the road to the 2019 Rugby World Cup, the team of referees and assistant referees features a blend of experience and emerging talent following impressive performances during the November window.
Away from Europe, all eyes will be on the decisive Rugby World Cup 2019 qualification matches between Canada and Uruguay to determine the Americas 2 place. The first leg in Vancouver on Saturday, January 27 will be refereed by Ireland’s Andrew Brace, who made his Test debut as a referee last June (Canada v Georgia), and England’s Luke Pearce will take charge of the second leg in Montevideo.
World Rugby Match Officials Selection Committee Chairman Anthony Buchanan said: “Our mission is to reach Rugby World Cup 2019 with the best-possible team of in-form, in-peak physical condition match officials with a proven record of making clear, consistent and accurate decisions in the biggest international fixtures and competitions, including the Six Nations.
“This selection is a reflection of form following a busy November window which gave us the opportunity to test the next generation of international match officials alongside the experienced campaigners. Overall, the selectors were pleased with progress against our objectives as we continue to build towards Japan 2019.”
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.
The match official appointments for the Women’s Six Nations will be announced in due course.
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