World Rugby has announced the match official appointments for the NatWest 6 Nations 2018 and Rugby World Cup 2019 qualifiers between Canada and Uruguay.
A team of 18 referees/assistant referees and seven TMOs will take charge of the 6 Nations matches, with France’s Pascal Gauzere refereeing the opener between Wales and Scotland at the Principality Stadium on 3 February.
In what is another important preparation stage on the road to Rugby World Cup 2019, the team of referees and assistant referees features a blend of experience and emerging talent following impressive performances during the November window.
Away from Europe, all eyes will be on the decisive Rugby World Cup 2019 qualification matches between Canada and Uruguay to determine the Americas 2 place. The first leg in Vancouver on 27 January will be refereed by Ireland’s Andrew Brace and England’s Luke Pearce will take charge of the second leg in Montevideo.
World Rugby Match Officials Selection Committee Chairman Anthony Buchanan said: "Our mission is to reach Rugby World Cup 2019 with the best-possible team of in-form, in-peak physical condition match officials with a proven record of making clear, consistent and accurate decisions in the biggest international fixtures and competitions, including the 6 Nations."
"This selection is a reflection of form following a busy November window which gave us the opportunity to test the next generation of international match officials alongside the experienced campaigners. Overall, the selectors were pleased with progress against our objectives as we continue to build towards Japan 2019."
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 Women’s 6 Nations will be announced in due course.