The International Rugby Board today announced the panel of Match Officials who will take charge of the 30 matches at this year’s IRB Junior World Championship 2011, which takes place in Italy from 10-26 June.
The premier international Age Grade tournament is a proven environment to test the skills of the very best in developing refereeing talent with New Zealand’s Chris Pollock, France’s Jérôme Garces and Carlo Damasco of Italy graduating from the 2009 tournament to be appointed Assistant Referees at Rugby World Cup 2011.
The class of 2011 includes features 12 officials who have impressed at other IRB tournaments and domestic or cross border club competitions. In total, 10 nations are represented in England, Wales, Ireland, Argentina, Scotland, South Africa, France, New Zealand, Italy and Portugal.
The Referee Panel is: JP Doyle (England), Greg Garner (England), Leighton Hodges (Wales), John Lacey (Ireland), Francisco Pastrana (Argentina), Neil Paterson (Scotland), Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Mathieu Raynal (France) and Jonathon White (New Zealand). The Assistant Referees are Carlo Damasco (Italy), Marius Mitrea (Italy) and João Mourinha (Portugal).
The Panel provides a blend of experience and newcomers with four officials – Doyle, Lacey, Pastrana and Peyper – returning to officiate at their second successive IRB Junior World Championship, while Garner and Paterson will be familiar to some of the teams having officiated in this year’s RBS Under 20 Six Nations.
“It has been particularly pleasing in recent years to see the likes of Keith Brown, Andrew Small, Chris Pollock and Jérôme Garces graduate from the IRB Junior World Championship to win selection for the IRB High Performance Match Official Panel,” said IRB Referee Manager Paddy O’Brien.
“Officiating in international tournaments provides exposure to a best-practice environment that furthers the development of our most talented young referees and provides us with an opportunity to identify and nurture the next group of Test officials.”
The selection of two Assistant Referees from Italy underlines the commitment of the IRB, working with its Member Unions, to increase the talent pool across all Unions through a system of collaborative programmes to identify and develop the best officiating talent.
A feature of the IRB Junior World Championship 2011 Legacy Programme will be the hosting of a special Match Official workshop where Italian Match Officials and Referee Managers can benefit from access to training and education programmes.