The referees for Rounds 5 and 6 of the Heineken Cup and the Amlin Challenge Cup were announced today (Thursday, 19 December 2013) following a meeting of the ERC Match Officials sub-committee. The meeting reviewed match official performances across all relevant tournaments in conjunction with feedback from the referee managers in each Union and from club coaching staff.
The day before Toulouse and Saracens battle it out in Round 5, John Lacey (Ireland) will referee a hugely-anticipated Pool 4 contest between Harlequins and last season's beaten finalists, ASM Clermont Auvergne, at The Twickenham Stoop, with England's Greg Garner appointed for the Pool 2 meeting of reigning champions, Toulon, and Cardiff Blues at Allianz Riviera in Nice also on Saturday, 11 January.
Nigel Owens of Wales will be in charge of the vital Round 6 match-up between Leicester Tigers and Ulster Rugby at Welford Road on Saturday, 18 January which could well decide Pool 5, and England's Wayne Barnes will referee the Munster Rugby v Edinburgh Rugby tie at Thomond Park in Pool 6 the following day.
The Amlin Challenge Cup gets European club rugby underway in 2014 with the meeting of Pool 3 leaders Newcastle Falcons and Brive on Thursday, 9 January which will be refereed by Ian Davies (Wales), while Dudley Phillips will be in the middle for another key Round 5 contest between Bayonne and London Wasps at Stade Jean Dauger.
Television Match Officials will be in operation at all Heineken Cup games and at all televised Amlin Challenge Cup matches during Rounds 5 and 6. The appointed referees will adhere to the current global law trials for the scrum engagement sequence and for the extended powers of the TMO.
Scrum engagement sequence
• Engagement sequence of 'Crouch-Bind-Set'
• Front rows should be in an 'ear-to-ear' position on the 'Crouch' command
• Referees will look for stability after the 'Set' command before saying: 'Yes 9', to prompt the scrum half to put the ball in
• Referees have been asked to be strict on non-straight scrum feeds
Extended Television Match Official (TMO) powers
• TMO can be consulted to review up to two phases (rucks or mauls) before a ball is grounded for a try
• TMO can be consulted for incidents of possible foul play anywhere in the playing enclosure
• TMO can notify the referee of possible foul play at the next break in play after the possible foul play has occurred
• If there is a big screen in the ground, the referee can make a decision without requesting a recommendation from the TMO