Nigel Owens to referee Ireland's World Cup quarter-final against New Zealand
Nigel Owens has been confirmed as the referee for Ireland's World Cup quarter-final against New Zealand in Tokyo on Saturday.
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The Ireland players will be well-used to being officiated by Owens, who has plenty of big game experience.
The Welshman will be assisted by France's Pascal Guazere and Australia’s Angus Gardner, with Graham Hughes of England named as the TMO.
Owens was in charge of the last World Cup final when the All Blacks overcame Australia at Twickenham.
Speaking in Tokyo this afternoon, All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster welcomed World Rugby's decision to appoint Owens.
“To be honest we’re happy with whoever we get and I’m sure at this stage of the tournament World Rugby has worked hard to get the referees that are best suited to the knockout stages,” Foster said.
“It’s not good or bad but he’s obviously a good ref so I’m sure he’ll be looking forward to the occasion.”
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Jerome Garces is the man in the middle for England and Australia's clash with South African Jaco Peyper handed his first first quarter-final for Wales and France's encounter, while Wayne Barnes will take charge of Japan's quarter-final against South Africa.
Commenting on the referee appointments for the last eight clashes, World Rugby High Performance 15s Match Official Manager Alain Rolland said:
“As a team, the match officials have worked hard to achieve consistency and clarity of decision-making during an exciting pool stage.
“While it is the referees who will get the recognition for the quarter-final appointments, this is a team game. We have an excellent team of referees, assistant referees and TMOs with a strong culture of working together to elevate performances.
“As we are looking ahead to the knock-out stage, everyone remains in the reckoning for semis and finals selection.”
Ireland forwards coach Simon Easterby this morning welcomed the decision to hand Owens the whistle for the game.
“It’s a good appointment, I think we’re familiar with him and so are the All Blacks. He does a lot of Rugby Championship games, so he’s a good appointment," he said.
“Both camps will be pretty happy to see Nigel in the middle. He has a good way about him.
“He’ll allow the game to flow, across all the set-piece work and he’ll be a good man to have in the middle.”
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