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World cup officials announced

England's key World Cup pool games against Wales and Australia will both be refereed by French officials.

Referee appointments for the tournament's pool games have been announced by World Rugby.

England and Fiji kick off the tournament at Twickenham on September 18, when South African official Jaco Peyper will be at the helm, while Jerome Garces has been handed the England versus Wales clash eight days later.

And Garces' fellow Frenchman Romain Poite will control England's Twickenham appointment with Australia in early October. Only two teams qualify from each group, meaning that either England, Wales or Australia are set to miss out on a quarter-final place.

Wales' final group game against Australia at Twickenham has been awarded to top South African referee Craig Joubert, while England's Wayne Barnes will be in the middle when New Zealand launch their world title defence against Argentina on September 20.

Welshman Nigel Owens, regarded by many pundits as the world's leading rugby union referee, has been appointed to Scotland versus South Africa and Ireland versus France.

Referee appointments for the World Cup knockout phase will be made after the pool fixtures.

"Refereeing is a very demanding discipline, both physically and mentally, so just like the teams, they will have to be at the very top of their game if they are to feature in the closing stages of the tournament," World Rugby's match officials selection committee chairman John Jeffrey said.

"Rugby World Cup is the biggest stage of all in our game, so for these match officials to have been selected in the first place is a great honour and a recognition of their talent, their hard work and their commitment.

"As such, they can all be very proud of their achievements, and I wish them all every success during the tournament."


From Belfast Telegraph