Romain Poite named as ref for Wales v Ireland 6 Nations clash

The Frenchman will whistleblow at the Millennium Stadium – scene of a lineout-gate in 2010.

Poite tells Paul O'Connell off in 2011.
Poite tells Paul O'Connell off in 2011.
Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

THE REFEREE THAT took charge of Ireland’s biggest loss in Test rugby will oversee affairs in our Six Nations opener against Wales.

Romain Poite will don a whistle for the fixture at the Millennium Stadium on 2 February.

The French referee was in charge at Waikato Stadium in June when Ireland suffered a 60-0 reversal at the hands of the All Blacks.

The previous game Poite officiated involving Ireland was the 2011 Six Nations win over Italy. Declan Kidney’s men were trailing 10-11 with two minutes to play before a Ronan O’Gara drop goal settled the tie.

Poite was dragged into the spotlight before the game when Nick Mallet, then-coach of the Azzurri, claimed the referee had written to him, apologising for favouring Ireland at the scrum in their 2010 Six Nations clash.

The letter, it later transpired, never existed.

Ireland will be pleased that Jonathan Kaplan is not overseeing the February game against Wales.

The South African, and his touch judges, missed a ball-boy throwing a ball, which was kicked to touch, to Welsh hooker Matthew Rees.

Rees gave a quick throw for Mike Phillips to hare up the left wing and touch down for a match-winning try.

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Jonathan Kaplan tries to placate the Irish players after Mike Phillips’ controversial try in 2011. (©INPHO/Dan Sheridan)

Jerome Garces, who will referee this Sunday’s Heineken Cup match between Munster and Saracens, will take charge of the 10 February match against England while Steve Walsh is the man in the middle for Ireland’s 9 March tie with France.

Waynes Barnes will referee the games against Ireland in Murrayfield [24 February] and Italy in Rome [16 March].

The last two Irish games reffed by the Englishman were Wales in the World Cup and a pre-tournament game against Scotland. Ireland were on the losing end on both occasions.

Ireland fixtures and referees

  • Wales v Ireland, 2 February at the Millennium Stadium – Romain Poite
  • Ireland v England, 10 February at the Aviva Stadium – Jerome Garces
  • Scotland v Ireland, 24 February at Murrayfield – Wayne Barnes
  • Ireland v France, 9 March at the Aviva Stadium – Steve Walsh
  • Italy v Ireland, 16 March at the Stadio Olimpico – Wayne Barnes

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Patrick McCarry

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