Ireland's Six Nations showdown refereed by Steve Walsh
Ireland’s potentially decisive Six Nations showdown in Paris against France will be refereed by Australian whistler Steve Walsh.
The IRB yesterday announced the officials for the 2014 RBS 6 Nations and Irishman John Lacey was granted the privilege of officiating at the tournament opener between Wales and Italy at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday, February 1st.
Ireland’s opening game on February 2nd against Scotland in the Aviva Stadium will be taken charge by respected South African Craig Joubert, who will also officiate Joe Schmidt’s side February 22nd trip to Twickenham to battle England.
Wayne Barnes will take charge of Ireland’s second game, at home to Wales, while Nigel Owens, who awarded the controversial penalty to the All Blacks last month as Ireland fell to agonising defeat, will referee the visit of Italy.
Former Irish international scrum-half, Alain Rolland, will face a re-run of the controversial 2011 World Cup semi-final when he takes charge of Wales v France.
This will be Rolland’s last championship before retirement but Welsh fans are still furious with him for red carding captain Sam Warburton for a tip tackle in that semi-final.
The full list of referees, sponsored by Emirates, for the RBS Six Nations 2014 is: Pascal Gauzerre (FFR), Craig Joubert (SARU), John Lacey (IRFU), Chris Pollock (NZR), Jaco Peyper (SARU), Steve Walsh (ARU), Alain Rolland (IRFU), Jérôme Garces (FFR), Romain Poite (FFR), Nigel Owens (WRU) and Wayne Barnes (RFU).
IRB Match Official Selection Committee Chairman John Jeffrey said: “Before making these appointments, careful consideration has been given to every performance during what was an extremely busy November window. Our policy is to apply the best-for-best principle while also keeping one eye on the future to ensure the best-possible panel for Rugby World Cup 2015.”
“We continue to consult with coaches and teams in making our selection decisions. I’d like to thank the Unions for their commitment and full support to this official channel of feedback.”
“The IRB is committed to promoting the very best refereeing standards at the elite level of the Game. The continued priority is the promotion of consistency and performance.”
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 ahead of Rugby World Cup 2015 in England.
The full list of appointments can be viewed here - http://www.irb.com/mm/Document/NewsMedia/MediaZone/02/06/98/86/131206TOC6NATIONS2014APPOINTMENTSKB.pdf