Everyone’s team – World Rugby announces Emirates match official team selected for Rugby World Cup 2023 in France
A total of 26 Emirates Match Officials (12 referees, seven assistant referees and seven Television Match Officials) representing nine nations with more than 630 test appearances between them, will take charge of the 48 tournament matches. The selection has been made on merit.
In an experienced referee group, Wayne Barnes (England), holder of the most test appearances (102), will officiate in a fifth-straight Rugby World Cup in the country in which he debuted in 2007. Meanwhile, Nika Amashukeli will make history as the first Georgian to officiate at a Rugby World Cup.
Rugby World Cup 2017 final referee Joy Neville (Ireland) becomes the first woman to officiate at a men’s Rugby World Cup, taking her place as TMO. Fellow TMO Ben Whitehouse (Wales) will follow in the footsteps of his father Nigel, who was an assistant referee and TMO at RWC 2003.
Referees: Nika Amashukeli (Georgia), Wayne Barnes (England), Nic Berry (Australia), Andrew Brace (Ireland), Matthew Carley (England), Karl Dickson (England), Angus Gardner (Australia), Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand), Luke Pearce (England), Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Mathieu Raynal (France), Paul Williams (New Zealand).
Assistant Referees: Chris Busby (Ireland), Pierre Brousset (France), James Doleman (New Zealand), Craig Evans (Wales), Andrea Piardi (Italy), Christophe Ridley (England), Jordan Way (Australia).
Television Match Officials: Brett Cronan (Australia), Tom Foley (England), Marius Jonker (South Africa), Brian MacNeice (Ireland), Joy Neville (Ireland), Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand), Ben Whitehouse (Wales).
Emirates Match Officials highlights
- Nine nations represented on panel (Australia, England, France, Georgia, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa and Wales)
- 453 tests among the 12 referees (eight have refereed at a RWC)
- Wayne Barnes the most capped with 102
- Nika Amashukeli will make history as the first Georgian to officiate at a Rugby World Cup
- Wayne Barnes will officiate at a record fifth Rugby World Cup, having made his debut at France 2007
- First Rugby World Cup selection as referee for Matthew Carley, Karl Dickson and Andrew Brace (assistant referees at RWC 2019)
- Three Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games match officials (James Doleman, Jordan Way and Craig Evans)
- Joy Neville the first female named on match official panel for a men’s Rugby World Cup
- Ben Whitehouse follows in the footsteps of his father Nigel, who was an assistant referee and TMO at RWC 2003
- Neville and Whitehouse were both on the Rugby World Cup 2021 panel as referee and TMO respectively
Chairman of the Match Officials Selection Committee Graham Mourie said: “I would like to extend my congratulations to the 26 match officials selected for Rugby World Cup 2023 in France.
“Like the players, they have earned their place on merit and have worked incredibly hard, making many sacrifices to be in contention for selection.
“I would like to put on record our thanks to them and those who just missed out. It speaks volumes about this group that, like every great team, they have all encouraged each other along the way.
“These men and women are not only representing their nations, they are also representing the global officiating fraternity and truly are ‘everyone’s team’, playing their full part in enabling players to perform to their best at our pinnacle men’s event and we should all get behind them.”
World Rugby High Performance 15s Match Official Manager Joël Jutge added: “The journey to Rugby World Cup 2023 is not an easy one for match officials. There are fewer roles with as much public scrutiny, but I am proud of how the team has responded to the ups and downs, always being open and acting with integrity.
“Selection is one milestone, and we have a lot of work to do before the start of the tournament with warm-up matches and The Rugby Championship. But this team has a great work ethic, an unwavering spirit and a great bond and we will all benefit from increased time together as we prepare for what will be a very special Rugby World Cup 2023 in France.”
The appointments for the pool phase will be announced after the completion of The Rugby Championship and Rugby World Cup preparation matches.