Former international referee, Andrew Cole, has become the second Australian ever to be appointed to the IRB Match Official Selection Committee.
Cole will be responsible for selecting and monitoring the performance of the referees in preparation for international meetings and replaces South Africa’s Tappe Henning on the Committee.
It is the latest achievement in a long refereeing career for Cole whose experience includes 31 Test matches and 44 Super Rugby matches, including two Rugby World Cups, three Tri-Nations and five Six-Nations Tests.
Brisbane-based Cole began his refereeing career in junior Rugby in 1977 before making his first class debut when Queensland Country played Western Samoa at Ballymore in Brisbane in 1988.
Cole retired as a referee in 2005 after his final Test between Ireland and Romania in Dublin.
He will sit on the IRB panel whilst continuing his trade as a dentist and as the National Referee Coach for Australian Rugby Union.
He will meet with the Committee four times a year to make selections.
Cole joins Richard Byres as the only Australians to have held a position on the Committee, with Byres a member for 10 years from 1997 to 2007.
In addition to Cole, the IRB Match Official Selection Committee, chaired by John Jeffrey, comprises former elite referees Lyndon Bray (SANZAR), Donal Courtney (European Rugby Cup), Clayton Thomas (Six Nations) and IRB High Performance Match Officials Manager Joël Jutge.
The appointment comes with the announcement of the 2014 TNT Express National Referee Squad. The squad includes Sarah Corrigan, Rachel Horton, Chyna Howlett and Amy Perrett as the first women to be selected as TNT Express National Referees.
In more good news for Australian Rugby, 2014 TNT Express National Referee Chairman of Selectors and former international referee, Wayne Erickson, was recently appointed to the women’s IRB Match Official Selection Committee in August.
The selections reinforce Australian Rugby’s support of Women in Rugby.
Australian Rugby is supported by TNT Express as the Official Referee Sponsor of Super Rugby. TNT Express has had a decade long partnership with Australian Rugby and provides programs to educate and mentor the next generation of elite referees.