World Rugby has today unveiled the Emirates Match Official appointments for a bumper schedule of international fixtures taking place in July and August, including The Rugby Championship and preparation fixtures for Rugby World Cup 2023.
Ireland’s Bank of Ireland Nations Series matches in August ahead of the Rugby World Cup will be refereed by Mathieu Raynal and Paul Williams while Wayne Barnes will take charge of the match against Samoa in Bayonne.
Irish officials feature strongly in the appointments with Andrew Brace, Frank Murphy, Joy Neville, Chris Busby, Brian McNeice and Eoghan Cross all set to be involved across the summer.
At present, 38 fixtures will take place across the globe in a busy period for international rugby. The international federation is playing a central role in coordinating the schedule of fixtures to provide each of the Rugby World Cup 2023 qualified teams with the best-possible preparation environment for the biggest event in men’s test rugby.
In line with its commitment to grow the game globally, World Rugby has also put significant investment behind teams outside of The Rugby Championship and Six Nations to provide meaningful opposition to assist with Rugby World Cup preparations and beyond. Highlights include, Argentina playing Spain in Madrid and Samoa facing Ireland in Bayonne on 26 August, while the USA, who fell short of qualifying for France 2023, will travel to Europe to face Romania, Portugal and Georgia.
The match official appointments also reflect World Rugby’s ambitions beyond Rugby World Cup 2023, providing opportunity for match officials who will be in line for selection for the next Rugby World Cup cycles.
World Rugby Chairman, Sir Bill Beaumont said: “World Rugby exists to make the game better, more accessible and relevant for everyone. Our commitment to support the high-performance programmes of our performance unions with significant investment and coordination expertise reflects that ambition. This schedule of international fixtures is the culmination of a lot of collaboration and hard work between our high-performance staff and all our member unions.
“We anticipate that France 2023 will be the most compelling of all men’s Rugby World Cups. Chile are taking part in their first Rugby World Cup ever, Portugal their second after 2007, and the top of the World Rugby Men’s Rankings powered by Capgemini has never been so competitive. The preparation matches will give fans a foretaste of Rugby World Cup 2023 while providing match officials with great opportunities to perform ahead of rugby’s showcase event.”
Beyond France 2023, World Rugby continues to work with international stakeholders to provide a wider and more coherent programme of competitive matches for teams who regularly qualify for Rugby World Cup and those who have the potential to rise to the biggest stage.