Romain Poite and Jérôme Garcès of France and South Africa’s Jaco Peyper have been appointed to referee the three upcoming tests involving New Zealand and the British and Irish Lions in Auckland and Wellington.
The officials are three out of a total of 26 referees who will take charge of internationals in June and July with a huge number of exciting matches and tournaments on the horizon for rugby-lovers around the world.
During what is an important stage in the Rugby World Cup cycle for the further development of elite match officials, the action will start on 10 June and carry on until the conclusion of the Pacific Nations Cup on 15 July and will include nine matches where tier-one teams play tier two.
The 36-year-old Peyper, who is a veteran of 36 tests already, will take charge of the first New Zealand v Lions test in Eden Park, Auckland, on Saturday 24 June for what should be a great occasion for all rugby fans in NZ.
A week later, Garcès, who has previously reffed 37 internationals, will take charge of the second test in Wellington, with Poite (53 tests) refereeing the third and final match of the series.
The appointments include the World Rugby Nations Cup 2017 in Uruguay with four referees appointed to cover those matches in Montevideo. They also include crucial Rugby World Cup 2019 qualifying matches in Rugby Americas North (USA v Canada over two legs) and in Oceania with the Pacific Nations Cup providing two qualifiers from that region.
World Rugby Match Officials Selection Committee Chairman, Anthony Buchanan said: “Everything is now pointing towards Rugby World Cup 2019 and we are very much looking ahead and developing fresh talent towards Japan. June provides us with a huge number of very challenging matches for the referees, assistant referees and TMOs. This gives us the opportunity to see how some emerging match officials perform under that increased pressure and intensity which international rugby provides.
“The ultimate goal is to arrive in Japan in 2019 with an established group of top-class, in-form officials with the necessary experience to perform at the highest level. Our focus continues to be clear and consistent decision-making and the highest standards of physical conditioning.”
The selection system allows for movement in and out of the panel based on form and rewards the top performers and young referees who have graduated through the performance pathway. Every performance is closely scrutinised and reviewed to ensure accountability. In addition, there is regular consultation with coaches with their feedback helping to inform selection decisions.