Tri-Nations 2011
Rolland to savour 50th Test
ESPNscrum Staff
July 28, 2011
England lock Louis Deacon is yellow carded by Alain Rolland, Wales v England, Six Nations, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales, February 4, 2011
Alain Rolland yellow cards Louis Deacon during a Six Nations game between England and Wales © Getty Images
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Alain Rolland will achieve a significant personal milestone in Wellington this weekend when he takes charge his 50th Test as a referee, New Zealand's Tri-Nations clash with South Africa at the Westpac Stadium.

Former Leinster scrum-half Rolland earned three caps for Ireland before taking up refereeing at the tail end of the professional era. His first international assignment was Wales' clash with Romania in September, 2001. Less than six months later, he was officiating in the the Six Nations as he quickly set about establishing himself as one of the top referees in Test rugby.

Fluent in both English and French, the highlight of his career came in 2007 when he was awarded the World Cup final between South Africa and England in Paris.

"I enjoy every minute of it all," Rolland said ahead of Saturday's Tri-Nations game in Wellington. "And as a former player it is great to still be on the pitch."

Irish Rugby Football Union Director of Referees Owen Doyle believes that Rolland deserves enormous credit for his rapid rise to the top of the refereeing world.

"Alain's progress has been remarkable and the 50 Test mark includes three RWC's and 24 Six Nations/ Tri-Nations matches, plus of course the RWC 2007 Final," he said of his compatriot. "And despite his extraordinary success, he always keeps his feet firmly on the ground, he is a great example to all."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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