Nigel Owens will take charge of two Tests in New Zealand this summer
Top Welsh referee Nigel Owens has retained his place among the world's elite officials and is one of nine selected by the IRB to control Test matches in June.
The IRB, who have made a commitment to ensuring that the best referees are selected on form to officiate in the biggest matches in the run up to Rugby World Cup 2015, has announced a restructured and more streamlined selection process overseen by a vastly experienced committee.
The new four-man committee, which former Welsh international Clayton Thomas along with Lyndon Bray, Tappe Henning and Donal Courtney, will now meet four times a year and make selections for the next international window with all performances reviewed as part of the next round of international selections.
Following the review of performances during the recent RBS 6 Nations, the selection committee has chosen nine elite referees to take charge of the top matches in a busy June international window. The referees are:
George Clancy (Ireland), Jérôme Garcès (France), Craig Joubert (South Africa), Nigel Owens (Wales), Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Chris Pollock (New Zealand), Romain Poite (France), Alain Rolland (Ireland) and Steve Walsh (Australia).
Rolland has been given his first game involving Wales since he controversially sent-off Sam Warburton in the Rugby World Cup semi-final against France in Auckland. He will take charge of the game against the Barbarians at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday, 2 June.
Meanwhile, Grand Slam referee Craig Joubert will be the man in the middle in the first and third Tests in Australia when Wales meet the Wallabies in Brisbane (9 June) and Sydney (23 June). The second Test in Melbourne will be controlled by New Zealand's Chris Pollock.
Owens has been given the first and second Tests between world champions New Zealand and Ireland in Auckland (9 June) and Christchurch (16 June). He will also be the No1 assistant for South Africa v England in Port Elizabeth on 23 June.
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.
The WRU has launched a campaign to create a long term legacy for Welsh club rugby by highlighting the advantages of volunteering. Rhian Edwards, a volunteer at Seven Sisters, has enjoyed many benefits of her volunteering at a grassroots rugby club including being part of the Rugby World Cup volunteer workforce after being nominated by the WRU - and the WRU is asking for more people to develop their 'Welsh rugby roots'.
Wales head coach Warren Gatland and captain Sam Warburton say their first prioirty on Sunday in the opening game of the World Cup is to win against Uruguay and not get overly concerned with points difference.