Nigel Owens has been confirmed as one of the world's leading referees by being awarded two matches in the 2009 RBS Six Nations championship.
It is the first time the Welsh official has been selected for two starts, although injury last season enabled him to take charge of two games in the end.
The 37-year-old from Pontyberem will be the man in the middle when Ireland host France at Croke Park on Saturday, 7 February and he will also be the official for the game at Murrayfield on Saturday, 28 February when Scotland host Italy.
"These are exactly the same fixtures, but in reverse, that I had in last season's championship," explained Owens.
"It is great to have been selected for two matches right from the start and this will be my third season in a row to be involved as a referee at the Six Nations. The IRB said they would be giving the best referees more matches and I hope this means they are looking on me favourably."
As well as two outings as a referee, Owens will also be the No 1 touch judge for the England v France game at Twickenham and the Italy v Ireland match in Rome. Tim Hayes will join him as the No 2 touch judge at Twickenham and will back up George Clancy and Wayne Barnes in Paris for the France v Scotland match.
Rugby World Cup final referee Alain Rolland will take charge of the opening game in Wales' defence of the Six Nations title against Scotland at Murrayfield on Sunday, 8 February.
Fellow countryman Alan Lewis, who was in charge when Wales beat Australia in the Invesco Perpetual Series '08, will control the game against Italy in Rome, while South African Jonathan Kaplan, who was in charge of the New Zealand test in November, will return to the Millennium Stadium for the visit of England.
New Zealander Steve Walsh will take charge of the final game in the championship, against Ireland in Cardiff.
2009 RBS 6 NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH OFFICIALS
SATURDAY, 7 FEBRUARY England v Italy (Twickenham Stadium, 3.00pm)
Ref: Mark. Lawrence (SA)
TJs: Joel Jutge (FR), Peter Allan (Scot)
TMO: Nigel Whitehouse (Wal)
Ireland v France (Croke Park, 5.00pm)
Ref: Nigel Owens (Wal)
TJs: Dave Pearson (Eng), David Changleng (Scot)
TMO: Giulio. De Santis (It)
SUNDAY, 8 FEBRUARY Scotland v Wales (Murrayfield, 3.00pm)
Ref: Alain Rolland (Ir)
TJs: Chris White (Eng), Rob Debney (Eng)
TMO: Geoff Warren (Eng)
ROUND 2 SATURDAY, 14 FEBRUARY France v Scotland (Stade de France, 4.00pm)
Ref : George Clancy (Ir)
TJs: Wayne Barnes (Eng), Tim Hayes (Wal)
TMO: Giulio De Santis (It)
Wales v England (Millennium Stadium, 5.00pm)
Ref: Jonathan Kaplan (SA)
TJs: Alan Lewis (Ir), Peter Fitzgibbon (Ir)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ir)
SUNDAY, 15 FEBRUARY
Italy v Ireland (Stadio Flaminio, 3.30pm)
Ref: Chris White (Eng)
TJs: Nigel Owens (Wal), Romain Poite (Fr)
TMO: Graham Hughes (Eng)
FRIDAY, 27 FEBRUARY
France v Wales (Stade de France, 9.00pm)
Ref: Mark Lawrence (SA)
TJs: Alain Rolland (Ir), Simon McDowell (Ir)
TMO: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ir)
SATURDAY, 28 FEBRUARY
Scotland v Italy (Murrayfield, 3.00pm)
The British & Irish Cup kicks off this weekend with the four Regional Premiership Select XVs flying the flag for Wales. Welsh
Sat 14 Nov: Blues Premiership Select v Nottingham (2.30) & Connacht Eagles v Dragons (2.30)
Sun 15 Nov: Yorkshire Carnegie v Ospreys Premiership Select (1.30) & Scarlets v Bedford Blues (3.00)
The Welsh Rugby Union is forming a new Youth Board with a brief to help keep more young people involved in the game during their late teenage years and beyond. The first task of the fifteen strong Board will be to analyse and consider the issues which lead to a number of youngsters drifting away from the sport between the ages of 16 and 21. To apply visit www.wru.wales/youthboard
The Foster's Challenge Cup will involve the 12 Principality Premiership sides and will run during European and British & Irish Cup weeks, providing vital fixtures for the participating clubs and an opportunity for upcoming players to step up to semi-professional rugby and make a claim for starting places within the Premiership squads.
Eighty schools and colleges in Wales now have a full time rugby officer as part of the WRU's school club hub scheme. All of the school club hub officers recently gathered at the National Centre of Excellence for various workshops.
With Liam Williams forced out of the World Cup through injury, lock Luke Charteris and Skills Coach Neil Jenkins say they have to put yesterday's defeat behind them as Wales now look ahead to another physical encounter against South Africa in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup.
WRU Consultant Head of Physical Performance Paul Stridgeon praises the Physical Performance department for their work and dedication as he addresses the media ahead of Wales' Pool A clash against Australia
Twelve young people have been selected to follow a one year WRU Coach Core apprenticeship programme. Coach Core was set up by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry as part of the Olympics legacy in 2012 and the Duke of Cambridge was on hand to meet the apprentices on their first day in the job. The programme has been funded by the Hunter Foundation.