• Appointments made for all 15 matches
• Team to build on RWC 2011 performances
• Consistency remains the key focus
The International Rugby Board has announced the appointments of match officials for the 2012 RBS Six Nations, which kicks off on February 4.
Appointments for the northern hemisphere’s showcase international competition were made by the IRB Referees Selection Committee in Auckland, New Zealand following a detailed review of match official performances at Rugby World Cup 2011 and other major competitions.
Welshman Nigel Owens will get the action underway when he referees Rugby World Cup 2011 silver medallists France against Italy at the Stade de France, with Ireland’s George Clancy taking charge of Scotland versus England at Murrayfield on the same day.
England’s Wayne Barnes will complete the opening weekend of fixtures when he officiates Ireland versus Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 5.
Chris Pollock, a reserve referee at Rugby World Cup 2011, will make his RBS Six Nations refereeing debut when he takes charge of Ireland against Scotland at the Aviva Stadium on March 10. Pollock refereed his first Tri Nations match earlier in the year when he took charge of Australia against South Africa.
Rugby World Cup 2011 Final Referee Craig Joubert has been appointed to two matches, taking charge of Ireland versus Italy at the Aviva Stadium on February 25 and Wales against France at the Millennium Stadium on March 17.
New Zealand’s Bryce Lawrence, a member of the Rugby World Cup 2011 match official team, has been rested following a busy year of international and domestic fixtures and is expected to return for the June 2012 Tests.
Appointments have also been made for Australia’s two-match tour to Europe at the end of this month. France’s Romain Poite will take charge of the match against the Barbarians at Twickenham on November 26, while South Africa’s Jonathan Kaplan will referee the match against Wales at the Millennium Stadium on December 3.
“We have made the appointments immediately after Rugby World Cup 2011 so match officials have the best possible preparation period ahead of the RBS Six Nations, after what has been a physically demanding year of Test Rugby,” said IRB Referees Manager Paddy O’Brien.