PADDY O’BRIEN HAS stepped down from his position as referee manager, while his colleagues Wayne Barnes and Dave Pearson have been told they won’t be taking part in any of the June Test matches, it has been announced.
The news comes as the IRB look set to implement a major overhaul of the officiating system in the coming months.
O’Brien will now be made head of the IRB Sevens series, while a committee will decide on his replacement in what is considered to be one of the most high-profile roles in the game.
In addition, Barnes and Pearson have been snubbed for the forthcoming June tests, and face demotion from the tier one panel, according to reports.
Bryce Lawrence of New Zealand and South Africa’s Jonathan Kaplan are also absent from the list of nine referees selected, which can be seen below:
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).
Barnes was in charge for Wales’ controversial win over Ireland in the Six Nations, in which he awarded the eventual Grand Slam winners a highly disputed late penalty to win the match.