World Rugby have announced the 26 officials who will be taking charge of the Rugby World Cup in France this September.
The list is headed up by Englishman Wayne Barnes, who is set to make his fifth World Cup appearance after first being involved at the 2007 global tournament.
Large English representation
Barnes is one four English referees, with Matthew Carley, Karl Dickson and Luke Pearce also selected, while Christophe Ridley is named as an assistant and Tom Foley is one of the six television match officials.
New Zealand (Paul Williams and Ben O’Keeffe) and Australia (Nic Berry and Angus Gardner) also have multiple referees.
The impressive Georgian Nika Amashukeli is the only referee not from a tier one country, and Joy Neville will become the first woman to officiate at a men’s World Cup.
Chairman of the match officials selection committee Graham Mourie said: “I would like to extend my congratulations to the 26 match officials selected for Rugby World Cup 2023 in France.
“Like the players, they have earned their place on merit and have worked incredibly hard, making many sacrifices to be in contention for selection.
“I would like to put on record our thanks to them and those who just missed out. It speaks volumes about this group that, like every great team, they have all encouraged each other along the way.
“These men and women are not only representing their nations, they are also representing the global officiating fraternity and truly are ‘everyone’s team’, playing their full part in enabling players to perform to their best at our pinnacle men’s event and we should all get behind them.”
— Wayne Barnes (@WayneBarnesRef) May 10, 2023
World Rugby high performance 15s match official manager Joël Jutge added: “The journey to Rugby World Cup 2023 is not an easy one for match officials. There are fewer roles with as much public scrutiny, but I am proud of how the team has responded to the ups and downs, always being open and acting with integrity.
“Selection is one milestone, and we have a lot of work to do before the start of the tournament with warm-up matches and The Rugby Championship. But this team has a great work ethic, an unwavering spirit and a great bond and we will all benefit from increased time together as we prepare for what will be a very special Rugby World Cup 2023 in France.”
Rugby World Cup match officials
Referees: Nika Amashukeli (Georgia), Wayne Barnes (England), Nic Berry (Australia), Andrew Brace (Ireland), Matthew Carley (England), Karl Dickson (England), Angus Gardner (Australia), Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand), Luke Pearce (England), Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Mathieu Raynal (France), Paul Williams (New Zealand).
Assistant referees: Chris Busby (Ireland), Pierre Brousset (France), James Doleman (New Zealand), Craig Evans (Wales), Andrea Piardi (Italy), Christophe Ridley (England), Jordan Way (Australia).
Television match officials: Brett Cronan (Australia), Tom Foley (England), Marius Jonker (South Africa), Brian MacNeice (Ireland), Joy Neville (Ireland), Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand), Ben Whitehouse (Wales).