Rugby World Cup
European officials dominate World Cup panel
ESPNscrum Staff
April 8, 2011
Wayne Barnes is set to feature at this year's Rugby World Cup © Getty Images

The officials at September's Rugby World Cup in New Zealand will be drawn predominantly from the northern hemisphere.

Six of the ten referees set to figure at the game's showpiece event will come from Europe with Englishmen Wayne Barnes and Dave Pearson joined by Wales' Nigel Owens, France's Romain Poite and Ireland's George Clancy and Alain Rolland.

Clancy, who will be making his World Cup bow, has been selected to referee the tournament opener between New Zealand and Tonga on September 9 with the rest of the match appointments yet to be confirmed.

Bryce Lawrence will represent New Zealand while Australia's naturalised Kiwi Steve Walsh is also in the mix. South African duo Marius Jonker and Mark Lawrence are two of the major casualties in the announcement, with Craig Joubert and Jonathan Kaplan getting the nod, while Ireland's Alan Lewis and Australian Stuart Dickinson have also been overlooked. The selection of both Kaplan and Walsh will see them referee at a record fourth tournament.

France's Jerome Garces, who will serve as a reserve referee along with New Zealand's Chris Pollock, is joined on the assistants list by Vinny Munro (New Zealand), Simon McDowell (Ireland), Stuart Terheege (England), Tim Hayes (Wales) and Carlo Damasco (Italy).

Full appointments for the Pool games will be announced by the IRB in August. Selections were made following a comprehensive review of refereeing performances by the IRB match official selection committee, chaired by council member David Pickering, at its two-day meeting in Dublin this week.

Kaplan and Walsh are set to officiate at a record fourth tournament. Between them, the 10 referees have controlled 287 Test matches.

Pickering said: "In selecting 10 referees, we are underlining our commitment to further enhancing consistency and a policy of selecting the best match officials for the world's best teams at rugby's showcase tournament.

"While inevitably there are those who are unlucky to miss out on selection, it is really exciting to see the likes of George Clancy, Dave Pearson, Romain Poite, Bryce Lawrence and Craig Joubert included within a Rugby World Cup referee panel for the first time on merit."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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