Referees Appointed to Rugby World Cup
World Rugby has announced the names of the 23 match officials appointed to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, starting on 20 September 2019 when Japan play Russia.
There are 12 referees, seven assistant referees and four TMOs.
Of the 23 officials appointed, there are six from England, five from France, four from New Zealand, two each from South Africa and Australia, and one each from Argentina, Ireland, Japan and Wales. There is none from Ireland, Italy and Scotland of Six Nations countries.
The 12 referees appointed are Wayne Barnes (England), Nic Berry (Australia), Jérôme Garcès (France), Angus Gardner (Australia), Pascal Gaüzère (France), Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand), Nigel Owens (Wales), Luke Pearce (England), Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Romain Poite (France), Mathieu Raynal (France) and Paul Williams (New Zealand).
The most experienced in World Cup terms are Owens and Barnes who have each been to three previous World Cups. Those who have not previously officiated at a World Cup are Nic Berry, Angus Gardner, Ben O’Keeffe, Luke Pearce and Mathieu Raynal.
The 21 referees have refereed altogether a total of 457 Test matches.
The seven assistant referees are Federico Anselmi (Argentina), Andrew Brace (Ireland), Matthew Carley (England, reserve referee), Karl Dickson (England), Shuhei Kubo (Japan), Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand) and Alexandre Ruiz (France).
There are four TMOs who have done the job in a total of 217 Tests: Graham Hughes (England), Rowan Kitt (England), Ben Skeen (New Zealand) and Marius Jonker (South Africa).
Jonker is the most experienced referee amongst the TMOs. In fact he was one of the 12 referees at the 2007 Rugby World Cup, along with Barnes and Owens. He refereed Super Rugby for 10 seasons and refereed Six Nations matches amongst his 24 Tests as a referee.
There will, as with all selections, be debates about inclusions and exclusions but the most obvious omission is that of 43-year-old Glen Jackson who refereed at the 2015 World Cup and has since been in charge of many top matches around the world.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont, who captained England and the B&I Lions in his playing days, said: “Just as it is for the players and coaches, Rugby World Cup represents the pinnacle of a match official’s career and I would like to congratulate the team of 12 referees, seven assistant referees and four TMOs who have achieved selection today through their hard work, commitment and dedication to excellence.
“Put simply, without the match officials there would be no rugby and I am proud of the leading position that our sport enjoys in terms of the mutual respect and values displayed between match officials, players and all those involved in the game.”
Anthony Buchanan played for Wales at the first World Cup in 1987 and is now World Rugby’s chairman of its match official selection committee. He said: “This selection was made on merit, on form and after a comprehensive process. With so much strength in depth, the panel was left with some tough decisions to be made across all areas. I would like to pay tribute to all the individuals involved in the process and congratulate the ‘Team 23’ squad who have been selected for Japan 2019.
“Since Rugby World Cup 2015, we have been focused on developing a strong team ethic among the group of match officials while bringing through the next generation of test officials with regular meetings and workshops to share best practice and experiences. The group selected for Rugby World Cup 2019 contains a strong mix of experience and proven young talent and we have every confidence that they will be well prepared and ready to perform at the highest possible level at Japan 2019.”