World Rugby has announced the match official appointments for the 2018 June internationals.
Appointments have been made to 28 matches, including the cross-regional Rugby World Cup 2019 qualifiers between Samoa and the team representing Europe.
A team of 29 referees and assistant referees and 10 TMOs have been selected on merit, reflecting a strong blend of experience and emerging talent as World Rugby’s Match Officials Selection Committee look towards Rugby World Cup 2019 and beyond.
All bar three of the 24 referees selected for the tests have graduated via the World Rugby U20 Championship.
The appointments follow a full review of the recent NatWest 6 Nations, which saw continued collaboration and dialogue between teams and match officials to ensure alignment in approach to key game areas with an emphasis on rewarding positive play.
This included renewed focus on scrum pre-engagement and crooked feeds, zero-tolerance to closing the gap and contact in the air the lineout, promotion of a fair contest at the tackle/ruck, zero-tolerance of clearing out beyond the tackle/ruck and observing of the offside line at the ruck and from restarts. This approach was endorsed at a workshop with northern and southern hemisphere coaches following the Six Nations and will continue into June.
World Rugby Match Officials Selection Committee Chairman Anthony Buchanan said: “We are on track in our mission to reach Rugby World Cup 2019 with the best-possible team of in-form match officials who are aligned, consistent and accurate in their decision-making, which was certainly a factor during the recent Six Nations.
“There is no doubt that the match official mini-camps that operate during major championships and windows, coupled with stronger collaboration and dialogue with coaches, is having a positive impact on the way the game is officiated, promoting consistency, accuracy and clarity for all.”
The selection system allows for movement in and out of the panel based on form and rewards the top performers and young referees who have graduated through the performance pathway. Every performance is closely scrutinised and reviewed to ensure accountability. In addition, there is regular consultation with coaches with their feedback helping to inform selection decisions.
The match official appointments for the World Rugby Nations Cup will be made shortly.