THREE Irish referees are among the 13 officials who will oversee the 2010 RBS Six Nations next spring.
Alain Rolland, Alan Lewis and George Clancy will all take charge of one match, while England’s Wayne Barnes and Jonathan Kaplan of South Africa are the only referees to be appointed to two games.
Frenchman Romain Poite will kick-start the competition on February 6, when defending champions Ireland begin their campaign against Italy at Croke Park.
IRB referee manager Paddy O’Brien said: “Romain Poite’s appointment to his first Six Nations match, along with the selection of a number of up-and-coming match officials amongst the Assistant Referee Panel, reflects the IRB’s commitment to developing the next generation of international refereeing talent.”
The England v Wales game will be an all-Irish refereeing affair, with 2007 Rugby World Cup final referee Rolland in charge, assisted by Clancy and Simon McDowell.
Clancy will then be in charge of the Wales v Scotland tie, with the assistance of Rolland and Peter Fitzgibbon. The experienced Lewis also takes charge of the France v Italy clash in March.
Both Fitzgibbon and Clancy will also officiate in the French Top 14 championship in January, the first time Irish referees have officiated in the highest echelons of French club rugby.
2010 RBS Six Nations referee appointments
February 6: Ireland v Italy (Romain Poite, France), England v Wales (Alain Rolland, Ireland). February 7 – Scotland v France (Nigel Owens, Wales). February 13: Wales v Scotland (George Clancy, Ireland), France v Ireland (Wayne Barnes, England). February 14 – Italy v England (Christophe Berdos, France). February 26: Wales v France (Jonathan Kaplan, South Africa). February 27 – Italy v Scotland (Dave Pearson, England), England v Ireland (Mark Lawrence, South Africa). March 13: Ireland v Wales (Craig Joubert, South Africa), Scotland v England (Marius Jonker, South Africa). March 14 – France v Italy (Alan Lewis, Ireland). March 20: Wales v Italy (Wayne Barnes, England), Ireland v Scotland (Jonathan Kaplan, South Africa), France v England (Bryce Lawrence, New Zealand).
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