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One team approach to on and off field disciplinary processes as World Rugby confirms experienced disciplinary team for Rugby World Cup 2023

World Rugby has announced the citing commissioners and judicial chairs and panel members who will create a one-team approach to officiating and discipline at Rugby World Cup 2023
  • One-team approach across match official and disciplinary environments
  • Thirteen nations represented across experienced team
  • Six female team members, including four judicial chairs, to preside over the tournament’s 48 matches

Widened global and gender representation are at the heart of an experienced team of citing commissioners and judicial officials selected for Rugby World Cup 2023 in France.

With 13 nations represented within the team, the selection made on merit underscores the pathways and processes implemented under independent Judicial Panel Chairman Christopher Quinlan KC and Citing Commissioner Manager Steve Hinds to broaden representation and deepen the talent pool.

Continuing the central mission to deepen understanding and empathy with the playing environment, the selection features a strong blend of former players, coaches and referees and experienced chairs. All come into the tournament with significant international rugby experience.

Within the judicial panel, Rugby World Cup 2014 winner Becky Essex, Rugby World Cup participants Stefan Terblanche (South Africa), Aiolupotea Tonu'u Ofisa Junior Tonu'u and Mike Mika (former Samoa and New Zealand internationals), former Scotland coach Frank Hadden and former international referee Donal Courtney (Ireland) all have significant Rugby World Cup experience.

The panel of eight citing commissioners is also brimming with significant international rugby experience with five members having previously been selected for Rugby World Cups.

Importantly, a consistent approach will operate across the match officiating, citing and judicial approach at France 2023. This is underpinned by regular joint calibration sessions across the respective teams, often involving coaches and players. This is central to common understanding.

Principles of the RWC 2023 disciplinary process

  • Three-person judicial committees will be appointed comprising a judicial chair and two panel members from a panel of experienced former international coaches, players and referees.
  • As at previous Rugby World Cups, a citing commissioner from a neutral country will be appointed for each of the 48 matches in the tournament. The citing commissioner will review the match live and will have access to all the available angles and Hawk-Eye multi-camera feeds. The citing window will operate until 36 hours after the conclusion of the match. 
  • Teams may refer incidents of alleged foul play to the citing commissioner for review within 12 hours of the conclusion of the match, but only the citing commissioner has the power to cite a player.
  • Disciplinary hearings will be convened within 48 hours of the match in order not to adversely impact on team preparation and decisions published immediately on conclusion.
  • The appeal window is 48 hours from the notification of the decision.



Citing Commissioners:  Shaun Gallagher (England)*, Deker Govender (South Africa), Adrien Menez (France), Michael O’Leary (New Zealand)*, David Pelton (USA)*, James Sherriff (Australia), Murray Whyte (Ireland)* and Danae Zamboulis (England).

Judicial chairs: Adam Casselden SC (Australia)*, Jean-Noël Couraud (France)*, Sir James Dingemans (England)*, Jennifer Donovan (Ireland), Roddy Dunlop KC (Scotland), Mike Hamlin (England)*, Brenda Heather-Latu (Samoa), Nigel Hampton KC (New Zealand)*, Shao-Ing Wang (Singapore)*, and Rhian Williams (Wales)

Judicial panel members: Donal Courtney (Ireland, former international referee)*, Jamie Corsi (Wales, former player), Becky Essex (England, played at Rugby World Cup 2010 and 2014), Frank Hadden (Scotland, head coach at Rugby World Cup 2007)*, Olly Kohn (former Wales international)*, John Langford (former Australia international)*, Leon Lloyd (former England international)*, Mike Mika (New Zealand, played at Rugby World Cup 1995 and 1999 for Samoa), Juan Pablo Spirandelli (Argentina, former international referee), Stefan Terblanche (South Africa, played at Rugby World Cup 1999 and 2003)*, Valeriu Toma (Romania, former international assistant referee)*, and Aiolupotea Tonu'u Ofisa Junior Tonu'u (New Zealand, former Samoa dual international rugby and cricket and former New Zealand international)

* Denotes previous Rugby World Cup experience 

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “Rugby World Cup 2023 will be a spectacular celebration of togetherness, rugby and France. On the field, we are anticipating the most competitive and compelling of men’s Rugby World Cups and, as with the players and match officials, the disciplinary team has been selected on merit and with clear, consistent and accurate decision-making as the central consideration.

“This is an extremely talented and experienced group, who are representative of the global game and have been working closely with the match officials and will continue to do so throughout France 2023 to enhance alignment. The selection of former international players, referees and coaches to the disciplinary process in international rugby is central to ensuring rugby empathy in cases and it is great to have people with considerable test experience, not just on the field, but as valued members of our disciplinary team.

“Collectively, we are striving for accurate, clear and consistent decision-making and player welfare is our top priority. It can be a complex area, particularly on-field, but this is a very talented, motivated and aligned group who are on the side of rugby.”

World Rugby’s Independent Judicial Panel Chairman Christopher Quinlan KC added: “The objective, on strong foundations, was to arrive at France 2023 aligned with match officials and citing commissioners in the harmonious application of core principles to achieve accurate and consistent outcomes. This has been achieved through frequent training and calibration workshops involving judicial personnel and citing commissioners working with the match officials, international coaches and former international players to share learning and experience.

“The independent judicial team comprises committed and fantastic people, representative of the world game,  with a wealth of on and off-field rugby and other relevant experience. I am grateful to them all for their contribution to the disciplinary process and am proud to be leading them at France 2023.” 

World Rugby Citing Commissioner Manager Steve Hinds commented: “I would like to thank our unions for their full support in selecting a strong and experienced team of citing commissioners. Each brings qualities that are essential to a Rugby World Cup, including pinnacle-level refereeing and playing experience. We have worked with a one-team approach with the match officials and judiciary over the last four years to head into France 2023 well prepared and aligned.”


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