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Refs announced for WC pool games

South African officials will referee two of England's four pool games at this year's World Cup in New Zealand.

Craig Joubert has been handed England's final pool appointment with Scotland in Auckland on October 1, while Jonathan Kaplan will control the England v Georgia clash in Dunedin almost a fortnight earlier.

England's September 10 opener against Argentina goes to New Zealander Bryce Lawrence, with Frenchman Romain Poite in charge when they face Romania. Both games are also in Dunedin.

Appointments for the 40 pool fixtures were made by the International Rugby Board's match official selection committee, with each of the 10 referees selected for the tournament having four fixtures.

Englishman Wayne Barnes' quartet includes Wales' clash with world champions South Africa in Wellington, Wales' meeting with Fiji and the potentially pivotal Pool B contest between Scotland and Argentina.

The New Zealand versus France Pool A showdown - a re-run of their contentious 2007 World Cup quarter-final - goes to Ireland's Alain Rolland, while England's Dave Pearson will referee the first World Cup meeting between Russia and the USA in New Plymouth on September 15.

"In selecting a streamlined referee panel we are committed to an approach that promotes consistency and ensures that the best referees are selected for the world's best teams playing in rugby's premier tournament," said David Pickering, the selection committee chairman and an IRB Council member.

"Each referee will take charge of four matches during the pool phase, allowing for a comprehensive review of performances by the selection committee."

It had previously been announced that Irishman George Clancy, making his World Cup debut, will officiate the opening game between New Zealand and Tonga in Auckland on September 9.


From Belfast Telegraph