The International Rugby Board has announced the panel of match officials who will preside over the 48 matches at Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand in September and October, with Bryce Lawrence the sole local referee on the panel.
A streamlined panel of 10 referees will be supported by seven dedicated assistant referees and four television match officials at rugby's showcase event.
While the appointments for the 40 Pool matches will not be announced until August, the IRB can confirm that Ireland's George Clancy, making his Rugby World Cup debut, will take charge of the opening match between hosts New Zealand and Tonga at Eden Park on September the 9th.
Appointments for the knock-out matches will be made following a performance review after the completion of the pool phase when 10 of the 21 match officials will be retained.
Clancy is joined on the panel by countryman and Rugby World Cup 2007 final referee Alain Rolland, England's Dave Pearson and Wayne Barnes, France's Romain Poite, New Zealand's Bryce Lawrence, South Africa's Craig Joubert and Jonathan Kaplan, Nigel Owens of Wales and the now Australia-based ex-New Zealand official Steve Walsh.
Kaplan and Walsh will be officiating at their fourth Rugby World Cup (a tournament record), while the referees have taken charge of 287 Tests between them at an average of 28.7 Tests per Referee.