Match officials appointed for 2011 RBS Six Nations
2 December 2010 14:20
Nigel Owens will take charge of his 26th Test when Scotland host Ireland in the RBS Six Nations
Top referee Nigel Owens will become Wales' second-most experienced international official when he takes charge of Scotland versus Ireland in the 2011 Six Nations.
The Murrayfield encounter on February 27 will be Owens' 26th Test as a referee, seeing him move into second-place behind runaway leader Derek Bevan who heads the list with 44 international appearances.
Alain Rolland will take charge of Wales' opening Six Nations clash with England in Cardiff on Friday, February 4, while fellow Irishman George Clancy, England's Wayne Barnes and the South African pair of Jonathan Kaplan and Craig Joubert will also take charge of games involving Wales.
The appointments were made by the IRB Match Official Selection Committee at its meeting in Dublin this week following a comprehensive review of international referee, assistant referee and television match official performances during the recent November Tests.
With the Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand less than 10 months away the appointments will give the world's top referees a further chance to cement their place in the IRB Panel for Rugby's global showcase tournament.
The selection also sees Steve Walsh take charge of his first Six Nations match since 2008 when he referees England versus France at Twickenham on February 26. In total there are 10 Referees selected for the 15 Championship matches.
"We are beginning the countdown towards Rugby World Cup 2011 and a streamlined panel of 10 top referees who will officiate at the tournament," said IRB Match Official Selection Committee Chairman and IRB Council Member David Pickering.
"However, there are still 10 months to go until the showcase tournament kicks off and there is plenty of time for places to be secured. We have worked hard on consistency across the board and referees and coaches have universally bought into the strict application of five key areas of Law."
"Collectively we are focused on further promoting consistency across all areas of officiating to ensure that those selected for Rugby World Cup 2011 are the best and that they will be in peak physical and performance condition for what promises to be a special tournament," added Pickering.
The Half a Game initiative is currently sweeping across Wales and proving a major success. The scheme aims to give every young player at least half a game every weekend. WRU TV recently visited a festival in Narberth where clubs have fully embraced the initiative.
Both Bargoed and Swansea were seeking their first win of the Principality Premiership season this afternoon. It proved a fruitful day for the hosts - not only did they win, but Bargoed claimed a try bonus point.
Cardiff managed to keep their unbeaten record at home intact, but only just as Bridgend made them work extremely hard before the Blue and Blacks secured a hard fought Principality Premiership win at the BT Sport Arms Park last night.
Former Wales back row Andy Powell gives a guided tour of The Wern, home of Merthyr RFC, who are determined to prove a lot of people wrong and make their mark in their first season in the Principality Premiership.
Wales Sevens head coach Gareth Williams looks back on the Rio Sevens success where he helped GB win silver. He believes the successful campaign is a huge boost to his Welsh squad as they prepare for another World Series, as WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie discovers
British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland will be heading back home to take on the All Blacks next year where for him, success for 2017 is all about going to New Zealand and winning a Test Series.
Last week all roads led to Eugene Cross Park where defending champions Ebbw Vale hosted this season's launch of the Principality Premiership. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie was there to capture the thoughts of Damien Hudd, captain of Ebbw Vale, and WRU Head of Performance, Geraint John.
Llandovery made it three in a row when they defeated Aberavon in the final of the National Foster's 7s at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday. On another eventful day of sevens, Newport claimed the Plate and the Dragons won the women's crown
Last week saw Cardiff welcome players from around the world for the 21st Golden Oldies Festival. The tournament features players over 35 years of age, and this year's event saw a select few represent the WRU in a 'friendly' against the Wooden Spoon.
Wales Under 18 captain Callum Bradbury is delighted to have seen his side claim a narrow 18-17 victory against a strong SA Schools 'A' side to end the three-match Under 19 International Series in South Africa on a high note.
The Wales U18 squad spent an emotional day in the drug-riddled townnship of Hout Bay. Hout Bay Warriors President Fred Johannes said the visit was 'the talk of the town' and will dream about the day everyday for the rest of his life.
RGC 1404's new head coach Mark Jones is hoping to build 'something special' in north Wales and is already looking forward to the development region participating in the Principality Premiership for the very first time.