RWC 2019 Match Officials

World Rugby has announced the squad of 23 match officials selected to take charge of the 48 matches at Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan, which runs from 20 September-2 November.

‘Team 21’ – the 21st tournament team – comprises 12 referees, seven assistant referees and four Television Match Officials (TMOs) representing nine nations.


With significant strength in depth in international officiating, the team has been selected on merit after a comprehensive review of performances over the last four international windows, and features an exciting and strong blend of experience and youth.

Referees (12): Wayne Barnes (England)Luke Pearce (England), Jérôme Garcès (France)Romain Poite (France)Pascal Gaüzère (France)Mathieu Raynal (France)Nigel Owens (Wales), Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand), Paul Williams (New Zealand), Nic Berry (Australia) and Angus Gardner (Australia)

Assistant referees (7): Matthew Carley (England, reserve referee), Karl Dickson (England), Andrew Brace (Ireland), Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand), Federico Anselmi (Argentina), Shuhei Kubo (Japan) and Alex Ruiz (France) – 130 tests as assistant referees

TMOs (4): Graham Hughes (England)Rowan Kitt (England), Ben Skeen (New Zealand) and Marius Jonker (South Africa) – 217 tests as TMOs

‘Team 21’ has 804 tests under its collective belt, as either referees, assistant referees or TMOs.

Wayne Barnes and Rugby World Cup 2015 final referee Nigel Owens are selected for their fourth consecutive Rugby World Cup as referees, while Luke Pearce, Mathieu Raynal, Ben O’Keeffe, Nic Berry and Angus Gardner are making their Rugby World Cup debut with the whistle after impressive performances in the test arena over the last year.

The match officials were selected by World Rugby’s Match Official Selection Committee following a comprehensive review of performances and fitness.

Rugby World Cup 2019 is set to attract the largest number of international fans in the tournament’s history with more than 600,000 of the 1.8 million available tickets expected to be held by fans making the journey to Japan to be part of this once-in-a-lifetime event.