Controversial Alain Rolland to referee Wales' Springboks clash
CONTROVERSIAL Irish referee Alain Rolland will be the man in the middle when Wales open their autumn series international campaign against South Africa at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday, November 9.
The official, who retires at the end of the season, provoked the fury of rugby fans in Wales in October 2011 when he dismissed the national side’s captain Sam Warburton.
The skipper was sent off for a tip-tackle on wing Vincent Clerc early in the World Cup semi-final against France which Wales narrowly lost 9-8 despite playing with 14 men for 62 minutes.
It is not the first time Rolland, who won three caps for Ireland as a scrum half between 1990 and 1995, has taken charge of a Wales game since he made that contentious decision.
He took control of their Barbarians clash last June at the Millennium Stadium which the home side won 30-21 as openside flanker Martyn Williams bowed out of the game after winning his 100th cap.
Rolland has always staunchly defended his decision to dismiss Warburton and was adamant he would do exactly the same thing again.
Another Irishman, John Lacey, will be in charge when Wales play their next autumn game against Rugby Championship strugglers Argentina in Cardiff on Saturday, November 16.
New Zealander Mike Fraser will have the whistle when Wales take on Tonga in the capital on Friday, November 22.
Former Monmouth School head boy Wayne Barnes refs the final game when Australia are in town on Saturday, November 30.
The Englishman famously sent off Northampton captain Dylan Hartley in May for swearing at him and calling him a “cheat” in the first half of Leicester’s eventual victory over the Saints in the Aviva Premiership final at Twickenham, the hooker subsequently missing the British and Irish Lions tour of Australia after receiving an 11-week ban.
Rolland will be one of Barnes' two assistant referees for Wales' showdown with the Wallabies.
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