‘Team 21’ – the 21st tournament team – comprises 12 referees, seven assistant referees and four Television Match Officials (TMOs) representing nine nations.
With significant strength in depth in international officiating, the team has been selected on merit after a comprehensive review of performances over the last four international windows, and features an exciting and strong blend of experience and youth.
Referees (12): Wayne Barnes (England), Luke Pearce (England), Jérôme Garcès (France), Romain Poite (France), Pascal Gaüzère (France), Mathieu Raynal (France), Nigel Owens (Wales), Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand), Paul Williams (New Zealand), Nic Berry (Australia) and Angus Gardner (Australia) – 457 tests as referees
Assistant referees (seven): Matthew Carley (England, reserve referee), Karl Dickson (England), Andrew Brace (Ireland), Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand), Federico Anselmi (Argentina), Shuhei Kubo (Japan) and Alex Ruiz (France) – 130 tests as assistant referees
TMOs (four): Graham Hughes (England), Rowan Kitt (England), Ben Skeen (New Zealand) and Marius Jonker (South Africa) – 217 tests as TMOs
'Team 21' has 804 tests under its collective belt, as either referees, assistant referees or TMOs.
Wayne Barnes and Rugby World Cup 2015 final referee Nigel Owens are selected for their fourth consecutive Rugby World Cup as referees, while Luke Pearce, Mathieu Raynal, Ben O’Keeffe, Nic Berry and Angus Gardner are making their Rugby World Cup debut with the whistle after impressive performances in the test arena over the last year.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “Just like for the players and coaches, Rugby World Cup represents the pinnacle of a match official’s career and I would like to congratulate the team of 12 referees, seven assistant referees and four TMOs who have achieved selection today through their hard work, commitment and dedication to excellence.
“Put simply, without the match officials there would be no rugby and I am proud of the leading position that our sport enjoys in terms of the mutual respect and values displayed between match officials, players and all those involved in the game.”