- Barnes to referee opening encounter
- Pearce and Carley receive first fixtures
World Rugby has announced a team of 14 referees, six assistant referees and seven Television Match Officials (TMOs) who will take charge of the Guinness Six Nations Championship matches in February and March 2019.
The Six Nations Championship gets underway on 1 February 2019 when France face Wales in Paris with England’s Wayne Barnes refereeing the opening encounter.
Reigning champions and current world number two Ireland kick off the following day against England in Dublin with Jerome Garces of France selected to referee the match.
The group of 14 referees selected for the Six Nations Championship come from six unions, including four French officials: Jerome Garces, Romain Poite, Mathieu Raynal and Pascal Gauzere, three from England: Wayne Barnes, Luke Pearce and Matthew Carley, and three New Zealanders in Glen Jackson, Ben O’Keefe and Paul Williams.
Angus Gardner, recently announced World Rugby Referee of the Year for 2018, fellow Australian Nic Berry, Nigel Owens representing Wales and Jaco Peyper from South Africa complete the line-up. Berry is the only referee selected to take charge of two matches, he will oversee both France v Scotland and England v Italy.
For Pearce and Carley it will be their first opportunity to officiate as referees at the tournament. Pearce will take charge of Scotland v Italy on 2 February and Carley Italy v France on 16 March. Karl Dickson is also included as an assistant.
“We’re delighted to have three English referees officiating the Guinness Six Nations next year which is testament to the huge amount of hard work that all three have put into earning this selection,” said RFU head of professional game match officials Tony Spreadbury.
“For Matthew Carley and Luke Pearce this is a great milestone and achievement and for Wayne Barnes this is recognition of his consistency and accuracy by the majority of the stakeholders in the game.
“We’re also very proud of Karl Dickson who has excelled in such a short period of time as well as the six TMOs who have been appointed.”
With Rugby World Cup 2019 on the horizon, match official performances over the period will be taken into account when the World Rugby Match Officials Selection Committee meets at the end of March to make the appointments for rugby’s showcase event.
From the 14 referees participating in the Six Nations Championship, 12 will be selected to go to Rugby World Cup, along with seven assistant referees and four TMO’s. The match officials selected for the Rugby World Cup will participate in a preparation camp in Japan during the month of July to ensure they, like the players and teams, are fully primed for rugby’s greatest showpiece.