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)
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