The referee appointments have been announced for this year’s Six Nations Championship, with Ireland paired up with some familiar faces.
While we hope that Ireland’s rugby alone will be good enough to bring home the Championship, it is inevitable that refereeing decisions will have some part to play.
The refereeing in the Six Nations is generally of a good standard, considering the nature of the game and the difficulty of refereeing technical areas such as the scrum and the ruck.
First up for Ireland is Wales on Saturday February 5th, with Jaco Peyper taking charge. The South African is known for his leniency when red cards come into play, but hopefully he will not have to make any sending off decisions.
Next up is France away, and Australian Angus Gardner will take charge, with Ben O’Keefe and Craig Evans as his assistants, and Welshman Ben Whitehouse as the television match official.
The third round sees Ireland face off against Italy on Sunday 27th February. Taking charge will be Nika Amashukeli of Georgia. Amashukeli became the first referee from a Tier 2 country to take charge of a match involving a Tier 1 team when he refereed Wales’ match against Canada in November.
In the penultimate round Ireland will play England at Twickenham on Saturday 12th March. In charge will be Frenchman Mathieu Raynal. His assistants will be Mike Adamson, Pierre Brousset, and TMO Marius Jonker.
Ireland’s last game will take place at the Aviva Stadium against Scotland, where Ireland will hopefully have a chance at bringing home the Six Nations trophy or even completing a Grand Slam.
Taking charge of the fixture will be the popular Wayne Barnes, considered by many to be the best referee in the game. Assisting him will be Karl Dickson and Christophe Ridley, with Stuart Terheege as TMO.
Andrew Brace will be the only IRFU referee taking charge of a Six Nations match when he referees Wales against Italy in the final round. However, Joy Neville, Frank Murphy, Chris Busby, and Brian MacNiece will all be in involved in assistant and TMO roles.