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IRB name World Cup referees

English officials Wayne Barnes and Dave Pearson have both been selected among a 10-strong panel of referees for the World Cup in New Zealand later this year.

Barnes and Pearson are joined by Wales' Nigel Owens and Irish pair Alain Rolland and George Clancy, with Clancy taking charge of the tournament's opening game between New Zealand and Tonga in Auckland on September 9.

The remaining places are filled by Frenchman Romain Poite, South African pair Jonathan Kaplan and Craig Joubert, New Zealand's Bryce Lawrence and Australian official Steve Walsh.

The group will preside over all 48 games, supported by seven dedicated assistant referees and four television match officials.

Among the assistant referees are Stuart Terheege (England), Tim Hayes (Wales) and Simon McDowell (Ireland), with assistants Jerome Garces (France) and Chris Pollock (New Zealand) also acting as reserve match referees.

Full appointments for the pool games will be announced by the International Rugby Board in August.

Selections were made following a comprehensive review of refereeing performances by the IRB match official selection committee, chaired by IRB council member David Pickering, at its two-day meeting in Dublin this week.

Clancy will be making his World Cup debut, while Kaplan and Walsh are set to officiate at a record fourth tournament. Between them, the 10 referees have controlled 287 Test matches.

Pickering said: "In selecting 10 referees, we are underlining our commitment to further enhancing consistency and a policy of selecting the best match officials for the world's best teams at rugby's showcase tournament.

"While inevitably there are those who are unlucky to miss out on selection, it is really exciting to see the likes of George Clancy, Dave Pearson, Romain Poite, Bryce Lawrence and Craig Joubert included within a Rugby World Cup referee panel for the first time on merit."

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