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Six Nations debuts for three referees; Davidson to also make history

By Liam Heagney
Hollie Davidson (Photo by Dan Mullan/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

Italy’s Andrea Piardi, England’s Christophe Ridley and France’s Pierre Brousset are all set to referee their first-ever men’s Guinness Six Nations matches in 2024. At the same time, Scotland’s Hollie Davidson will make her championship debut as an assistant.

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World Rugby confirmed on Tuesday their Emirates World Rugby match official appointments for the upcoming tournament, which begins with the February 2 France versus Ireland fixture in Marseille.

England’s Karl Dickson – a veteran of the recent Rugby World Cup – will be in charge for that meeting between the two title favourites, but there are plenty of fresh developments regarding the personnel named for the other 14 matches.

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A statement read: “Fifteen referees representing eight nations will preside over the 15 men’s Guinness Six Nations matches as the road to Rugby World Cup 2027 in Australia begins in earnest.

“Andrea Piardi is set to become the first Italian to referee a Six Nations match, taking charge of Ireland versus Wales on February 24.

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“England’s Christophe Ridley (France versus Italy, February 25) and France’s Pierre Brousset (Ireland versus Italy, February 11) also debut with the whistle, and Scotland’s Hollie Davidson will make her championship debut as an assistant referee (England versus Wales, February 10).

“There are 458 Tests of experience in the middle across a referee team that blends Rugby World Cup experience with the three Six Nations debutants. Eight assistant referees will also make their championship debuts, with Hollie Davidson becoming the first woman to hold the role in the men’s competition.

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“The seven other debutant assistant referees are Angus Mabey (New Zealand), Luc Ramos (France), Gianluca Gnecchi (Italy), Eoghan Cross (Ireland), Adam Leal (England), Damian Schneider (Argentina) and Morne Ferreira (South Africa). With the exception of Leal, all officiated at the World Rugby U20 Championship in South Africa this year.

“Jaco Peyper (South Africa) is the most experienced referee on the panel with 67 Tests and 12 Six Nations matches. Luke Pearce (England) will take charge of his 50th Test with Wales vs France in Cardiff on March 10, becoming the 11th referee to reach the milestone and the third Englishman after Wayne Barnes and Chris White.

“With the sport entering a transformative era that will see new competitions start and an expanded 24-team Rugby World Cup 2027 in Australia within a reimagined men’s international calendar, the selection reflects ongoing strategic match official development, with the aim of creating greater depth and wider national representation.”

World Rugby director of rugby Phil Davies said: “As we enter a new four-year Rugby World Cup cycle and ultimately the beginning of a new international calendar that will advance test rugby, we are focused on collaborating with unions and competitions to create greater opportunities to identify and develop the next generation of match officiating talent.

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“This selection reflects that commitment while also crucially retaining the experience that underpins the DNA of modern refereeing. We are also committed to collaborating more closely with international coaches and players to ensure that we shape the future of officiating together.”

World Rugby high performance 15s match officials manager Joel Jutge added: “The 2024 men’s Guinness Six Nations marks the start of a new Rugby World Cup cycle and we look forward to working with the group selected. Congratulations to the debutants.”

  • Click here to view the Guinness Six Nations 2024 refereeing appointments
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