Otago referee to officiate at World Cup

Referee James Doleman in action, as he sends Ardie Savea to the sin-bin in a previous Super Rugby...
Referee James Doleman in action, as he sends Ardie Savea to the sin-bin in a previous Super Rugby campaign.
Otago referee James Doleman will make his Rugby World Cup debut later this year.

Doleman has been named by World Rugby in a group of 26 match officials, representing nine nations, to control the tournament in France in September-October.

He is in the assistant referees group, while fellow New Zealand whistleblowers Ben O’Keeffe (referees) and Brendon Pickerill (television match officials) are also in the squad.

Doleman became a professional referee in 2021, and made his test debut the following year when the Wallabies played France in Melbourne.

He made his Six Nations debut earlier this year when he handled England v Italy at Twickenham.

One of the features of the match officials squad is the inclusion of a female referee in a men’s World Cup for the first time.

Joy Neville, of Ireland, who was the referee for the women’s World Cup final in 2017, will be one of the television match officials.

Nika Amashukeli will be the first Georgian to officiate at a Rugby World Cup, as one of the 12 referees selected.

English referee Wayne Barnes will officiate at a record fifth Rugby World Cup, having made his debut at the 2007 tournament in France.

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).