Irish match officials have shown they are still some of the best in the rugby world after being handed several appointments for key games during the summer.
2007 World Cup final referee Alain Rolland will take charge of two Tri Nations games – New Zealand against South Africa and the Springboks clash with Australia in August.
Alan Lewis, the most-capped Heineken Cup referee with 65 games under his belt, will officiate the clash between Wales and South Africa at the Millennium Stadium in June, before taking charge in the Tri Nations when New Zealand host South Africa in July.
George Clancy and Peter Fitzgibbon have also established themselves on the international circuit in recent seasons and will take charge of a number of games this summer.
Clancy will referee the Pacific Nations Cup match between Fiji and Japan in Fiji on June 12, and also the clash between New Zealand and Wales a week later in Dunedin.
Fitzgibbon will handle the Australia v Fiji tie in Canberra in early June before heading for the Pacific Nations Cup to take charge of Samoa v Tonga and Fiji v Tonga.
Owen Doyle, the IRFU's Director of Referee Development, welcomed the appointments of so many Irish officials.
“We are delighted to see Irish officials being recognised at the pinnacle of the game,” he said.
“It is testament to the ground work we do through our Referee Development Officers -David Keane, David McHugh, David O'Brien and David Wilkinson in all four provinces, and to our elite pathway.”