World Rugby has announced the match official appointments for the Six Nations Championship, which gets underway in February next year.
Appointments were made by the World Rugby Match Official Selection Committee at its recent meeting in Dublin and follow a detailed review of all performances in the past two months.
The Championship opener between Scotland and Ireland on Saturday, 4 February in Edinburgh will be refereed by Romain Poite of France with his compatriot, Jérôme Garcès, taking charge of the last match, on Saturday, 18 March between Ireland and England in Dublin.
Poite and Garcès, along with England’s Wayne Barnes, have received two appointments each with a total of 12 referees involved. New Zealander Ben O’Keeffe and France’s Mathieu Raynal will make their championship debuts when they take charge of Italy v France in Rome and England v Scotland in Twickenham, respectively, on 11 March. O’Keeffe (27) refereed his first of three full internationals in June of this year while Raynal already has 10 tests under his belt, most recently in October when he took charge of the Ireland v New Zealand match in Chicago.
As usual, the appointments for the 15 championship fixtures feature a blend of northern and southern hemisphere match officials. Several of the assistant referees being used for this year’s Six Nations are graduates of the 2013 and 2014 World Rugby U20 Championship.