Photo: Simon Bryant/Pinnacle
Young English referee Luke Pearce has been appointed to the IRB panel of officials taking charge of matches in this season’s HSBC Sevens World Series.
Pearce, 23, will work at six of the nine series tournaments, starting with the New Zealand International Sevens at Wellington on February 3-4 next year.
It continues the Devon referee’s rapid progress since his elevation into the Elite Referee Unit 12 months ago.
Pearce, from Exeter, made his first Aviva Premiership appearance at Kingsholm in charge of Gloucester Rugby v Worcester Warriors last month and his development has also seen him appointed to matches in France as part of the RFU/FFR exchange programme.
He will be joined on the sevens circuit by English former Test official Steve Lander, who is the new IRB Sevens Referee Manager.
Pearce said: “I’m looking forward to taking part in the HSBC Sevens World Series, starting with Wellington and Las Vegas in February, then Hong Kong and Japan before the tournaments in Edinburgh and London.
“It’s a step up in terms of international experience, performing in front of large crowds and in the insight it can give you into different technical areas – like the tackle – that you can take back into the 15-a-side game.”
Ed Morrison, the RFU’s Head of Elite Referee Development, said: “We’re very pleased for Luke and it’s an important part of his personal development.
“The intensity of the tournaments and the pace of the game, in front of massive crowds, will be essential in adding to his experience and being involved in that environment will play an important role in enhancing his ability to succeed in the demanding 15-a-side game.
“This season Luke has taken charge of two games in the Premiership and worked in France as well and he’s developing well. We’ve had very positive feedback about his performances.”
Morrison added: “We wish Steve Lander every success too and his experience and knowledge will be invaluable in developing these referees. I know he’s looking forward to the challenge of his new role and it’s an exciting time for sevens with the sports inclusion in the Olympics now less than five years away.”