James Jones of Wales will take charge of the IRB TOSHIBA Junior World Championship 2009 final between defending champions New Zealand and England at the Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium on Sunday.
The Welsh referee insists he is “over the moon” at the appointment, which sees him follow in the footsteps of Peter Fitzgibbon of Ireland who refereed the 2008 title decider between the same teams, New Zealand winning 38-3 in Wales.
“I am excited and over the moon. It is a huge honour for both myself personally and I am really proud to represent Wales as well,” said Jones, who will have Peter Allan of Scotland and France's Jerome Garces as his assistant referees.
“It probably is [the biggest match of my career] and now with the new development of the IRB refereeing structure, I think it is a huge stepping stone in my career and hopefully lead to bigger and better things
“I do feel that there are a lot of good referees in this tournament. We have just had our debrief regarding the tournament and it has been said it is probably one of the best, if not the best group of referees overall.”
Jones was quick to call home with news of his appointment, admitting: “First phone call was to Dad, and being a former referee himself he was over the moon, very excited, likewise my mum. Then the phone call to the wife and the wee fella, but yeah they are all chuffed to bits.”
For Paddy O'Brien, the IRB Referee Manager, the Junior World Championship final - which kicks off at 15:00 local time (07:00 UK time, 18:00 New Zealand time) - is in safe hands.
“James has enjoyed a very good tournament and is ranked near the top of the referees performing here. He is a very experience official having refereed Magners League and European Cup fixtures so the final is in safe hands.”
Seven other play-offs will take place on Sunday, including the contest for third place between Australia and South Africa, which kicks off at 13:00 local time in Tokyo. Keith Brown of New Zealand will referee this one, with Allan and Garces the assistant referees.
James Leckie will take charge of the fifth place play-off between Wales and France at the Level 5 Stadium in Fukuoka, having been in charge when the sides met in the pool stages in the 2008 Championship.
Pascale Gauzere of France will referee the 12:00 kick off between Ireland and Samoa in the seventh place play-off. England’s Andrew Small, who refereed the semi final between Australia and New Zealand, and Akihisa Aso of Japan will be the assistant referees for these matches in Fukuoka.
The ninth place play-off between Tonga and Scotland at the Kintetsu Hanazono Stadium in Osaka will have Ian Smith of Australia as referee with Italy's Carlo Damasco taking charge of the 11th place play-off between Argentina and Fiji.
New Zealand’s Chris Pollock, who refereed the other semi final between England and South Africa in Tokyo on Wednesday, and Tetsuhiko Kawano are the assistant referees.
James Bolabiu, Fiji’s Sports Personality of the Year, has been appointed as the referee for the match between Uruguay and Japan to decide 15th and 16th places, while Taizo Hirabayashi of Japan takes charge of the 13th place play-off at 12:00 between Canada and Italy.
Javier Mancuso of Argentina and Japan's Taku Otsuki will be the assistant referees for these matches at the Mizuho Rugby Ground in Nagoya.
** Watch New Zealand take on England in the IRB TOSHIBA Junior World Championship 2009 Final live and on-demand for free on Sunday 21 June. The final kicks off at the Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium in Tokyo at 15:00 local time after the third place play-off between Australia and South Africa. **
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** You can also watch on-demand the two semi finals - New Zealand v Australia and England v South Africa **
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