IRB publish summer apointments

The IRB have now published all the summer appointments. 2013 IRB Summer appointments:

The press release:

The International Rugby Board has announced the appointment of match officials for the 2013 British and Irish Lions tour to Hong Kong and Australia, which begins on June 1 and concludes on July 6.

Appointments were made by the IRB Match Official Selection Committee following a comprehensive review of performances during the recent RBS 6 Nations and other fixtures.

New Zealand’s Chris Pollock, South Africa’s Craig Joubert and France’s Romain Poite will take charge of the three Test matches.

Pollock will referee the first Test in Brisbane on June 22, with Joubert refereeing the second Test in Melbourne on June 29 and Poite the final Test in Sydney on July 6.

Other referees who will take charge of matches during the tour include Steve Walsh (ARU) who has been appointed to the tour opener between the Lions and the Barbarians in Hong Kong, Glen Jackson (NZRU), Jaco Peyper (SARU) and Jérôme Garcès (FFR).

IRB Match Official Selection Committee Chairman, IRB Council Member and former Scotland and British and Irish Lions flanker John Jeffery said: “The British and Irish Lions tour will be one of the highlights of 2013 as far as international Rugby is concerned and looks set to be another hard-fought and compelling series.”

“The IRB is committed to promoting the very best refereeing standards at the elite level of the Game. The continued priority is the promotion of consistency and performance and following a comprehensive selection process, the committee has appointed three highly experienced match referees for the Test series.”

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 ahead of Rugby World Cup 2015 in England.

Each referee performance in every international match is reviewed in minute detail, both by an independent assessor and by the referee himself. All performances are then used by the selectors as a basis for choosing the right match officials for the next round of Test matches.

Editors’ Notes:

The only match of the Lions tour that was not appointed by the IRB Match Official Selection Committee was the game involving Combined New South Wales/Queensland Country at Newcastle on June 11. By agreement between the Lions and Australian Rugby Union (ARU), that appointment was made by ARU.

The IRB Match Official Selection Committee, chaired by John Jeffrey, comprises former elite referees Lyndon Bray (SANZAR), Tappe Henning (SANZAR), Donal Courtney (European Rugby Cup) and Clayton Thomas (6 Nations) and IRB Referee Manager Joël Jutge.

The committee meets four times a year and makes selections for the next international window with all performances reviewed in advance of selection

So what can we read into today’s appointments? Well, a few things jump out –

– the reversal of Paddy O’Brien’s policy of ‘the best of the best’ when it comes to appointments. He clearly felt that having completely neutral referees for the midweek Lions tests wasn’t necessary. Joel Jutge and the selection committee clearly have other views.

– Great to see the Pacific Nations Cup being used to good effect with the likes of Achi Pastrana (ARG), JP Doyle (RFU), Garratt Williamson (NZRFU), Angus Gardner (ARU), Jonathon White (NZRFU) and Greg Garner (RFU) getting some higher profile fixtures

– the 6 Nations game performance reviews have not matched the public & media perceptions of those performances.

– Steve Walsh’s only appointment is the Lions v BaaBaas game in Hong Kong. If there is a performance-related message being given out, it seems strange to appoint Steve to that fixture (with England coaching duo of Rowntree and Farrell in control of the Lions). Maybe there’s more to it than meets the eye.

Think given the first point, we shouldn’t be reading too much into this list. The Lions country referees all pick up fixtures in the other summer tour matches.