And so, here we are. That tense Friday night before the 6 Nations kicks off in earnest tomorrow lunchtime. The man with the whistle will be Romain Poite of France has he takes charge of the Wales v Ireland game, his 12th 6Nations match as either a referee or AR.
So what are we expecting? The IRB released their statement yesterday suggestion little change, but then outlining areas of change – lower tolerance at the scrum, availability of quicker ball and low tolerance of foul play.
RugbyReferee.net spoke exclusively to two of the 6 Nations head coaches about refereeing matters, Rob Howley of Wales and Stuart Lancaster of England, the day after they had all met with Joel Jutge, head of elite referees at the iRB.
This is what they told us:
And in his first UK interview, debut 6 Nations official Francisco Pastrana of Argentina spoke to RugbyReferee.net about his thoughts. Francisco has been racing up the refereeing ranks since he became Argentina’s first professional referee in 2009. He has refereed at the Junior World Trophy in Kenya, the Junior World Championships in S Africa and on home soil in Argentina. He is also the first non-SANZAR (S Africa, NZ or Australia) referee to officiate in the SuperRugby competition. Here’s a clip of that interview where he speaks excitedly about being in London to be Assistant Referee to Alain Rolland in tomorrow afternoons Calcutta Cup match. We’ll be hearing more about that interview in the next week or so.
Spot the theme with the Lancaster and Howley quotes.
So, what will we see over the weekend? Hopefully nothing controversial and where the players actions decide the outcome of the matches. As Francisco, told us,the “players deserve the very best of the referees performance.”
Good luck to all the officials involved this weekend and beyond. To see who is involved in the 6 Nations check the IRB appointments calendar here