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Romain Poite is one of the world’s finest rugby union referees. Discover the big matches he’s officiated with the help of rugby gurus RugbyPass.

Romain Poite Bio

Romain Poite is a former French international rugby referee who retired in 2021. During his career, he took charge of some of the world’s biggest fixtures, including British and Irish Lions test matches, Six Nations Championship clashes and Rugby World Cup fixtures. Romain Poite was inducted into the RugbyPass Hall of Fame in 2021.

Born 14 September 1975, Romain Poite was a former police detective in Toulouse before he began his career as a professional rugby union referee. However, he ultimately chose to leave the French police force in order to pursue his passion for the game.

The choice soon proved to be a successful one. By 2007, Romain Poite had risen through the ranks and he was asked to make his debut as an assistant referee at the Rugby World Cup. Following this, in 2009, he officiated as a touch judge and a television match official in the Six Nations Championship.

Only a year later, Romain Poite took charge of his first ever Six Nations encounter when Ireland faced Italy at Croke Park. From here, his career really took off and he was appointed to the 10-man elite refereeing panel for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Following this, Romain Poite became a regular official in both international competitions. He's also refereed fixtures in The Rugby Championship and officiated in a Heineken Champions Cup final. In 2019, he was an assistant referee for the final of the Rugby World Cup.

However, Romain Poite’s career was not without controversy. In 2013, he caused outrage after giving an incorrect yellow card during a clash between South Africa and New Zealand in The Rugby Championship. Then, in the deciding test of the 2017 series between the British and Irish Lions and New Zealand, Romain Poite made a crucial last-minute error that denied New Zealand a chance of winning the series. He also once famously told England that “I am a referee, not a coach” in the side’s 2017 Six Nations Championship game against Italy.  

Romain Poite retired from officiating in 2021, after refereeing a test match between Australia and Scotland. In total, he refereed 72 test matches across a 15-year career.