Three Irish Magners League officials will have the honour of refereeing the opening games in this year’s Tri Nations championship.
Alan Lewis will be in the middle for the launch of South Africa’s defence of their title against the All Blacks in Auckland on Saturday, while Alain Rolland will take charge of the second clash of the top two teams in the world in Wellington the following weekend.
The Springboks then move on to Australia for the third leg of their overseas trip, when they will take on the Wallabies in Brisbane on 24 July. That fixture was due to be refereed by New Zealand’s Bryce Lawrence, but he has now pulled out with a knee injury.
That has led to a third Irish official, George Clancy, stepping into the breach for what will be his Tri Nations debut.
Welsh referee Nigel Owens will make it four Magners League regulars involved in the Tri Nations when he controls the return clash between the Springboks and All Blacks in Johannesburg on 21 August.
That game has now been switched from Ellis Park to the Soccer City venue in Soweto that will host this weekend’s football World Cup final. After the World Cup it will revert back to its status of National Stadium and the game could attract a crowd of 88,000.
A week later Rolland will be back on duty in Pretoria for the clash between South Africa and Australia.