Issued on behalf of International Rugby Match Officials

Dual Rugby World Cup final referee Hollie Davidson and two-time men’s Rugby World Cup referee Jaco Peyper head a stellar inaugural management committee elected to the representative body for international high performance match officials, chaired by Mark Egan.

Davidson, Peyper and Egan were elected alongside Jordan Way, Lauren Jenner, and Brian MacNeice at International Rugby Match Officials’ (IRMO) inaugural Annual General Meeting on Wednesday.

Launched in December with the support of World Rugby, IRMO has the dual objective of supporting officials on and off the field and furthering their voice within the international federation’s structures.

With match officials increasingly contributing to World Rugby’s decision-making processes, IRMO’s management committee, which features a blend of 15s, sevens and TMO specialists will input into World Rugby’s discussions and decisions in relation to future laws and protocols development and audience education. They will also provide a collective voice on tournament provisions and conditions that underpin a high-performance environment at the international level of the game.

Importantly, the body will also promote the development of officiating as an exciting career path and refereeing more generally, inspiring the next generation while championing the values that are at the heart of the sport’s culture of respect and togetherness that attracts new participants, officials and fans.

IRMO’s key objectives are:

  • To act as a representative body for its members on World Rugby committees and in discussions around the laws of the game, relevant game-related protocols and high performance standards at tournaments for match officials
  • To promote and support the physical and mental wellbeing of members
  • To promote the development of high-performance match officials and inspire more young people to take up officiating
  • To promote the values of the game that are central to the sport’s growth

IRMO’s inaugural Chair, Mark Egan said: “It is an honour and a privilege to be elected as the inaugural chair of International Rugby Match Officials.

“Match officials are the backbone of our sport, central to our values and are under increasing public scrutiny, and aside from being world-class professionals, practitioners and athletes, they are also incredible role models, whom I greatly respect from years of working with them in my previous World Rugby roles.

“It is vital that this important stakeholder group in our sport has a collective voice when it comes to discussions and debate regarding the evolution of the laws and shape of the game from a safety, participation and fan engagement perspective.

“I look forward to supporting the new management committee in promoting officiating as an exciting and rewarding career path and also ensuring that the values and integrity of the sport are central to the work that we do and respected by others.”

IRMO Management Committee Member Jaco Peyper added: “I am honoured to be elected to International Rugby Match Officials’ first management committee and look forward to playing a full part, using the experience that I have gained, to champion elite match officials and officiating more broadly.

“The role of the rugby match official is unique in sport and a privilege. We preside over wonderful spectacles, but also complex laws under great pressure. Therefore, having a collective voice and closer channels with World Rugby on the future of our sport and current topics of interest, while safeguarding long-term mental and physical health, is extremely important and exciting. We are, after all, World Rugby’s team.”

World Rugby Chief Executive Alan Gilpin welcomed the development: “Match officials are fundamental to the sport and their role is greater than the matches they officiate. They are ambassadors, champions of our values and increasingly contributing to the future shape of the sport through their game expertise.

“The election of the IRMO management committee is an important step in better formalising collaboration with World Rugby and across a range of topics from law review, officiating performance and tournament provisions to commercial opportunities and mental wellbeing, all geared towards enabling them to be the best they can be on and off the field.”

Two further Management Committee members, a retired match official and an independent high performance expert, will be appointed in the coming months.