IRB axe Bryce, Kaplan
Dublin - As part of its ongoing review process and commitment to ensuring consistency and that the best referees are selected on form to officiate in the biggest matches in the run up to Rugby World Cup 2015, the IRB has announced a restructured and more streamlined selection process overseen by a vastly experienced committee.
According to the IRB website, the committee, which includes former elite referees Lyndon Bray, Tappe Henning (both SANZAR), Donal Courtney and Clayton Thomas (both Six Nations), will now meet four times per year and make selections for the next international window with all performances reviewed as part of the next round of international selections.
Following a thorough review of performances during the recently concluded Six Nations, the selection committee commitment to promoting consistency has been reflected in the latest selections with nine elite referees appointed to the top games in what is a busy June international window that also sees the beginning of the schedule involving tours to Tier 2 Unions.
George Clancy (Ireland)
Jérôme Garcès (France)
Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Nigel Owens (Wales)
Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Romain Poite (France)
Alain Rolland (Ireland)
Steve Walsh (Australia)
The Springboks' three-Test series against England in June will be reffed by Steve Walsh (Durban and Port Elizabeth) and Alain Rolland (Johannesburg).
All June's referee appointments
Underscoring its commitment to ensuring selection on form, there will now be four selection meetings per year to tie in with the four international windows. At each meeting, the referee panel for the next international window will be reviewed and named.
The committee agreed that the key areas of the game identified for particular focus by referees needed constant reviewing.
Those five key areas are:
- All aspects of the tackle with particular emphasis to be placed on the tackler releasing the tackled player and rolling away and arriving players staying on their feet
- Offside at the breakdown
- Offside from kicks
- All aspects of the scrum, particularly the engagement process and front-row binding
- All aspects of the maul, particularly what constitutes legal maul defence
As part of the restructure, IRB Referee Manager Paddy O’Brien has chosen to take on a new challenge after seven years of excellent service in his present role. Having played an instrumental role in the advancement of elite match official preparation and performance, including the management of the referee team at two Rugby World Cups, he has decided that he requires a fresh challenge.
O’Brien will now focus his extensive experience into a similar role for rugby Sevens, underlining the IRB’s commitment to Sevens ahead of rugby making its return to the Olympic Games at Rio de Janeiro in 2016. He remains central to the match official process and is supportive of the restructure.
The process for replacing O’Brien will be announced in due course.