12th January 2021, 14:00 | match_officials
International Rugby League (IRL) has accepted three English nominations from the RFL for the first of three new squads of Match Officials that have been introduced ahead of this year’s Rugby League World Cup.
Robert Hicks, Chris Kendall and Liam Moore have been confirmed as the three English members of the IRL’s eight-strong Elite International Referees Panel – which will be supported by a 16-strong International Panel to which the RFL will also be submitting three nominations.
Each of the Panels has a maximum of three officials from each country, and the IRL accepted Australia’s nomination of Grant Atkins, Ashley Klein and Gerard Sutton to the Elite Panel last month, with Henry Peranara confirmed to represent New Zealand.
Members of the Elite Panel will be appointed to referee top tier fixtures; members of the International Panel to referee international fixtures below the top tier; and there will also be an Emerging Panel of 24 officials from emerging nations.
Hicks, Kendall and Moore are now on course for involvement in their second consecutive Rugby League World Cup later this year.
Kendall, who was a touch judge in the 2017 World Cup Final between England and Australia in Brisbane, has refereed the last two Betfred Super League Grand Finals; Moore became the youngest Challenge Cup Final referee at Wembley in October; and Hicks has refereed two Grand Finals, two Challenge Cup Finals and two matches at the 2017 World Cup, when he was touch judge for the Men’s Semi Final between England and Tonga, and the Women’s Final between Australia and New Zealand.
Dave Rotheram, the RFL’s Chief On-Field Officer, said: “Congratulations to the three officials who have been nominated for the new IRL squads.
“It’s an exciting year for International Rugby League with the pinnacle for Match Officials being the World Cup in England in the autumn, and we’re confident that our officials will be pushing hard to be appointed for the big games in the Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair competitions.”
Stuart Cummings MBE, the IRL’s Match Officials Manager, said: “The inclusion of the RFL’s nominated referees for the Elite International Squad further strengthens the depth and experience available ahead of a high-profile year for International Rugby League. The referees will benefit from the experiences of other referees in the squad as well as providing valuable input themselves so that the squad develops and is ready for the start of the Rugby League World Cup in October.”