World Rugby have announced they are to stick with neutral referees policy for the Lions series with Romain Poite and Jérôme Garcès of France and South Africa’s Jaco Peyper appointed to referee the three New Zealand tests in Auckland and Wellington.
The 36-year-old Peyper, who is a veteran of 36 tests already, will take charge of the first New Zealand v Lions test in Eden Park, Auckland, on Saturday 24 June. A week later, Garcès, with 37 internationals to his name, will take charge of the second test in Wellington, with Poite (53 tests) refereeing the third and final match of the series.
The three join a total of 26 referees who will take charge of internationals in June and July with a huge number of exciting matches and tournaments set to keep the summer months busy. One name missing again is Ireland’s George Clancy – perhaps giving way to the new batch of referees coming through ahead of the RWC 2019 cycle.
During what is an important stage in the Rugby World Cup cycle for the further development of elite match officials, the action will start on 10 June and carry on until the conclusion of the Pacific Nations Cup on 15 July and will include nine matches where tier-one teams play tier two.
The summer appointments include the World Rugby Nations Cup 2017 in Uruguay with four referees appointed to cover those matches in Montevideo, and the Pacific Nations Cup which will also provide two qualifiers from that region. Wales’ Ben Whitehouse and Ireland’s Andrew Brace will oversee crucial Rugby World Cup 2019 qualifying matches in Rugby Americas North (USA v Canada over two legs)
World Rugby Match Officials Selection Committee Chairman, Anthony Buchanan said, “Everything is now pointing towards Rugby World Cup 2019 and we are very much looking ahead and developing fresh talent towards Japan. June 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.”
Full appointments will be uploaded soon into our Appointments calendar which you can add them to your Google calendar. In the meantime, most of them are here. We will bring you the Rugby Nations Cup and Pacific Nations Cup appointments when we have them.