New Referee Panel Structure and Test Appointments
“A key component of the meeting was a discussion on whether the existing international referee panel was the most appropriate format. Presently there are three panels – a, b and c - with all match officials for Test matches drawn from these panels. With Rugby World Cup 200 in France fast approaching it was felt that a move to a single 21-man international referee panel was now appropriate, supported by a separate touch judge/television match official (TMO) panel,” said IRB Referee Manager, Paddy O’Brien.
“All referee appointments for Tests will be made from this one referee panel. As in the past the make-up of the panel has, and will be, determined by match reviews and assessment. Members of the 16-man touch/judge/TMO panel will not be precluded from movement to the international referee panel and may be appointed to referee at IRB tournaments. The next review of these panels will take place in September when the IRB Selection Committee next meets.”
“The Selection Committee also discussed the current system involving reports on match officials from international team coaches. The Panel believes the reports are of great value to the assessment process but expressed disappointment at the low rate of return of these reports. The IRB will be proactive in encouraging coaches to provide referee reports in all forthcoming Tests,” added O’Brien.
Since the last meeting of the Selection Committee in September last year Test referees Andrew Cole (Australia) and Tappe Henning (South Africa) have retired.
Four referees were selected to officiate at the IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup 2006 at Edmonton, Canada in September: George Ayoub, Lyndon Bray, Malcolm Changleng and Simon McDowell. They will be supplemented by further appointments in May.
Four referees were selected to officiate at the new IRB Nations Cup in Portugal in June between Argentina A, Italy A, Portugal and Russia: Federico Cuesta, Carlo Damasco, Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland|) and Andrew MacPherson (Scotland). Peter Fitzgibbon refereed the B Final at the recent IRB Under 19 World Championships in Dubai between England and France, while Andrew MacPherson refereed the Final between Australia and New Zealand.