Organisers stand over call to hand Doyle Munster game
Champions Cup organisers European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) have defended the decision to hand Dubliner JP Doyle the reins for Munster's semi-final against Racing 92 next week.
Eyebrows have been raised in certain quarters over the appointment of the Terenure man, who is an English RFU referee, to the high-profile fixture scheduled for Bordeaux on Sunday week, but the competition administrators see nothing wrong with the call.
Doyle has previously taken charge of an Ireland international and fixtures involving his native Leinster without incident.
He is a highly-regarded official with international pedigree who also went to the effort of learning Georgian phrases before refereeing their 2015 Rugby World Cup game against Argentina.
Doyle took charge of the European Challenge Cup quarter-final between Stade Francais and Pau and was able to converse with the two teams in French, which would make him suitable for an Irish-French clash.
Refereeing appointments are in sharp focus in the wake of the controversy over the World Cup qualifier between Spain and Belgium and the presence of South African official Marius van der Westhuizen at England training days before he was due to be assistant referee in the Grand Slam decider.
An EPCR spokesman told the Irish Independent: "EPCR's match official selection committee, chaired by head of match officials Joel Jutge, is certain that JP Doyle is an appropriate appointment for this semi-final.
"JP Doyle has progressed through the match official ranks under the aegis of the RFU and is a full-time employee of the RFU.
"He has refereed matches between French clubs and Irish provinces since 2010, and this season he was appointed for the Champions Cup, round two match between Munster Rugby and Racing 92."
French official Romain Poite will be in charge of Leinster's last four clash with Scarlets.