Home Features Official Watch: A Guide To This Weekend’s Six Nations Referees

Official Watch: A Guide To This Weekend’s Six Nations Referees

The Six Nations enters its final weekend and the championship is still up for grabs with Wales, Ireland and England all in contention to lift the trophy on Saturday. 

Wales can secure a first Grand Slam since 2012 and a first championship title since 2013 if they can get the better of Ireland in Cardiff while a loss for Warren Gatland’s side will open the door for Ireland and England.

This weekend’s matches could be decided by the finest of margins and the referees involved could play a big role in that regard.

With that in mind, we take a look at those men in the middle for the final three fixtures on Saturday.

Italy v France – Matthew Carley 

Six Nations referees

This weekend’s clash between Italy and France in Rome will be English referee Matthew Carley’s first Six Nations match in charge.

Before this championship, he was an assistant on six occasions while he also acted as an assistant in the opening fixture of this year’s competition between France and Wales in Paris.

His first time refereeing an international match was the clash between Russia and Portugal in Sotchi in 2014.

Interestingly, he was the first official to wear a ‘Ref-Cam’, the camera which is attached to a referee’s shirt which offers an up close and personal view for those watching on television. This took place in a Championship clash between Newcastle Falcons and London Scottish during the 2012/13 season.

His first all Tier 1 Test match was between Scotland and New Zealand in November 2017.

Matthew Carley Factfile 

Age: 34

International Debut: Russia v Portugal (Sotchi) 8th March 2014

Six Nations Record: 0 games (seven appearances as an assistant)

Yellow Cards Issued Six Nations: N/A

Yellow Cards Issued Per Six Nations Match: N/A

Red Cards Issued Six Nations: N/A

Most Recent Six Nations Appearance: N/A

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Wales v Ireland – Angus Gardner 

Six Nations referees

For Australian referee, Angus Gardner, this will be his second involvement in this year’s Six Nations championship after acting as an assistant referee in last week’s win for Ireland over France at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium.

Gardner has refereed three Six Nations games in the past while he has acted as an assistant referee on two occasions prior to this year’s championship.

The 34-year-old was appointed to the panel of Super Rugby referees in 2012 and his first match in charge in the southern hemisphere competition was an Australian derby clash between the Queensland Reds and Melbourne Rebels at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.

Gardner began officiating at the age of 15 and he refereed last year’s Super Rugby final between the Crusaders and the Lions in Christchurch.

His first Test match was between Papa New Guinea and Vanuatu in 2011.

Rugby supporters will be most familiar with Gardner after he officiated England’s win over the Springboks in November. In that fixture, Gardner came under scrutiny for not penalising Owen Farrell for a tackle on Andre Esterhuizen late in the game.

Gardner was awarded World Rugby Referee Of The Year in 2018.

Angus Gardner Factfile 

Age: 34

International Debut: Papa New Guinea v Vanuatu (Port Moresby) 29th November 2011

Six Nations Record: Three games (three games also as an assistant)

Yellow Cards Issued Six Nations: 2

Yellow Cards Issued Per Six Nations Match: 0.6

Red Cards Issued Six Nations: 0

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England v Scotland – Paul Williams 

Six Nations referees

Like Matthew Carley, Kiwi referee Paul Williams will be in charge of his first Six Nations match this weekend.

Williams began refereeing in 2011 and at the time was still playing scrum-half at club level for Southern Rugby Club.

In 2014, he became a member of the New Zealand High-Performance Referee squad. He made his Super Rugby debut in 2016 where he took charge of five games and his Tier-1 Test debut came in June 2017 when he officiated a clash between Italy and Scotland in Singapore.

In terms of the Six Nations, Williams has acted as an assistant referee on three occasions, the most recent of which came in England’s win over Italy at Twickenham last weekend.

Paul Williams Factfile 

Age: 33

International Debut: Romania v USA (Bucharest) 12th November 2016

Six Nations Record: 0 games (three appearances as an assistant)

Yellow Cards Issued Six Nations: N/A

Yellow Cards Issued Per Six Nations Match: N/A

Red Cards Issued Six Nations: N/A

Most Recent Six Nations Appearance: N/A

About Sean McMahon

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