Referees for World Cup announced
PA Sport
April 26, 2007

French referee Joel Jutge will take charge of England's crucial World Cup pool clash against South Africa in Paris on September 14.

Jutge is the solitary French official named among a 12-strong list of referees to officiate at the tournament.

England provide three referees in Chris White, Tony Spreadbury and World Cup debutant Wayne Barnes - the highest representation of any country.

The panel is completed by Welshman Nigel Owens, Australian Stuart Dickinson, Irish pair Alain Rolland and Alan Lewis, New Zealanders Steve Walsh and Paul Honiss, plus the South African duo of Jonathan Kaplan and Marius Jonker.

England's three other pool games - against the USA, Samoa and Tonga - will be controlled by Kaplan, Lewis and Rolland, respectively.

Barnes, meanwhile, has been handed four group fixtures, including New Zealand's opener against Italy, with Spreadbury taking charge of the tournament's first game between France and Argentina and White officiating a potential group decider between Ireland and France.

Elsewhere, Wales' Cardiff showdown with Australia in September has been awarded to Walsh, while Owens and Jonker join Barnes as World Cup newcomers.

The appointments were announced following a two-day session of the International Rugby Board's match official selection committee in Dublin.

IRB referee manager Paddy O'Brien said: ``The committee was delighted by the standard of match officials available for selection for Rugby World Cup 2007.

``While inevitably there are those who are unlucky to miss out on selection, it is really exciting to see the likes of Wayne Barnes, Nigel Owens and Marius Jonker all included within a Rugby World Cup referees' panel for the first time on merit.''

A panel of 13 specialist touch judges has also been revealed, which features England's Dave Pearson, Welshman Hugh Watkins, Scotland's Malcolm Changleng and Irish official Simon McDowell.

From the World Cup quarter-finals onwards, touch judge appointments will be drawn from the 12-strong referees' list.

Barnes and Owens have also secured their first Tri-Nations Tests this summer, with Barnes controlling the tournament opener between South Africa and Australia in Cape Town on June 16 and Owens placed in charge for the New Zealand versus Australia clash at Eden Park, Auckland five weeks later.

England, meanwhile, will see Jutge referee the second Test against South Africa in Pretoria on June 2, with Walsh appointed for the opening Springboks encounter in Bloemfontein seven days earlier.

In related news Irish referee Donal Courtney, who took charge of 21 Tests and also officiated in the Heineken Cup and European Challenge Cup, has announced his retirement due to family and work commitments.

World Cup referees: Chris White, Tony Spreadbury, Wayne Barnes (all England); Paul Honiss, Steve Walsh (both New Zealand), Alain Rolland, Alan Lewis (both Ireland); Jonathan Kaplan, Marius Jonker (both South Africa); Nigel Owens (Wales); Stuart Dickinson (Australia); Joel Jutge (France).

World Cup touch judges: Dave Pearson (England); Hugh Watkins (Wales); Malcolm Changleng (Scotland); Simon McDowell (Ireland); Kelvin Deaker, Lyndon Bray, Lawrence Bryce (all New Zealand); Craig Joubert, Mark Lawrence (both South Africa); Christophe Berdos (France); Paul Marks (Australia); Federico Cuesta (Argentina); Carlo Damasco (Italy).

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