IRELAND WILL BE represented at the Heineken Cup final by referee Alain Rolland and assistant referee George Clancy.
Rolland, a former Leinster and Ireland scrum-half, will take charge of the final between Saracens and Toulon at the Millennium Stadium. The 47-year-old, who is retiring at the end of the season, has been honoured with the task of overseeing his third Heineken Cup final. He reffed the 2004 final between Wasps and Toulouse and last year’s final, in Dublin, when Toulon defeated Clermont.
Rolland has been at the top of the officiating game ever since he took up the part-time profession at the turn of the century. He refereed the World Cup final in 2007 and took charge of his final Test match in February as Wales beat France at the Millennium Stadium.
He invoked the ire of former Munster player Alan Quinlan earlier in the season as the southern province were defeated by Ulster at Ravenhill. He also angered Munster coach Rob Penney for what he perceived to be harsh calls of his teams scrum in their away loss to Leinster. When it was suggested to Penney that the Munster scrum was consistently going forward, the New Zealander remarked:
Do you want to let Alain Rolland know that? It would certainly be helpful. We were confident in our scrummaging ability and it proved to be a really strong point for us last week. It’s just a shame we never got rewarded for it.
Jerome Garces, meanwhile, has been given the whistling duties for the Amlin Challenge Cup final between Peter Stringer’s Bath and Northampton Saints. The Frenchman was responsible for sending Ulster’s Jared Payne off in Saracens’ quarter final win at Ravenhill.