Former Super League referee to take charge of England vs Samoa as officials are named for World Cup opening fixtures

The Rugby League World Cup is just days away as squads are named for the opening round of group fixtures.

As we know, our great game wouldn’t happen without the men in the middle, and the officials for all the matches over the first five days of the tournament have been named.

Saturday – England v Samoa: Taking the whistle in the opener is Ashley Klein, a former Super League referee who currently plies his trade Down Under, having refereed a number of Grand Finals and State of Origin games. He’ll be assisted by Touch Judges Jack Smith and Warren Turley.

Saturday – Australia v Fiji: The man in the centre for the second match of the World Cup will be Chris Kendall, a name familiar to Super League fans as one of the most senior referees in the ranks. Assisting him will be Wyatt Raymond and Darian Furner.

Sunday – Scotland v Italy: In Scotland’s first game of the tournament the referee will be Gerard Sutton, who was the referee in the 2017 Final between England and Australia, and has seven Grand Finals under his belt. His Touch Judges will be Paki Parkinson and Marcus Griffiths.

Sunday – Ireland v Jamaica: Taking the lead on this one will be Ben Casty, a former player who’s spent most of his refereeing career (which started in 2014) in France. With him will be Geoffrey Poumes and Neil Houghton.

Sunday – New Zealand v Lebanon: At the Halliwell Jones Stadium’s opener, the Ref will be Grant Atkins, who’s appeared as a referee at the last two World Cups. Alongside him will be Tom Grant and Dean Bowmer.

Monday – France v Greece: The man in the middle for this one is no stranger to World Cup Finals, having refereed the Women’s World Cup Final in 2017, in the form of Adam Gee. By his side will be Kasey Badger and James Vella.

Tuesday – Tonga v Papua New Guinea: Another well known figure from Super League leading this one, with Liam Moore the man in the middle there. Assisting him will be fellow Super League Referee James Child, and Belinda Sharpe.

Wednesday – Cook Islands v Wales: The opening round of group stage games at this World Cup comes to a close with this one at Leigh Sports Village, and Robert Hicks will officiate it. Rochelle Tamarua and Todd Smith will be the assistants for this one.

Full confirmation:

Saturday 15 October 
England v Samoa, St James Park, Newcastle, 2.30pm
Match Driver: Tom Grant
Referee: Ashley Klein
Touch Judges: Jack Smith and Warren Turley
Reserve Referee: Tom Grant
Video Referee: Adam Gee
Captain’s Challenge: Robert Hicks

Australia v Fiji, Headingley Stadium, Leeds, 7.30pm
Match Driver: James Vella
Referee: Chris Kendall
Touch Judges: Wyatt Raymond and Darian Furner
Reserve Referee: Rochelle Tamarua
Video Referee: Grant Atkins
Captain’s Challenge: James Vella

Sunday 16 October 
Scotland v Italy, Kingston Park, Newcastle, 2.30pm
Match Driver: Ben Thaler
Referee: Gerard Sutton
Touch Judges: Paki Parkinson and Marcus Griffiths
Reserve Referee: Belinda Sharpe
Video Referee: Robert Hicks
Captain’s Challenge: Ben Thaler

Jamaica v Ireland, Headingley Stadium, Leeds, 5pm
Match Driver: Neil Houghton
Referee: Ben Casty
Touch Judges: Geoffrey Poumes and Neil Houghton
Reserve Referee: Aaron Moore
Video Referee: Ashley Klein
Captain’s Challenge: James Child

New Zealand v Lebanon, Halliwell Jones, Warrington, 7.30pm
Match Driver: Dean Bowmer
Referee: Gerard Atkins
Touch Judges: Tom Grant and Dean Bowmer
Reserve Referee: Todd Smith
Video Referee: Liam Moore
Captain’s Challenge: Paki Parkinson

Monday 17 October 
France v Greece, Eco-Power Stadium, Doncaster, 7.30pm
Match Driver: Michael Smaill
Referee: Adam Gee
Touch Judges: Kasey Badger and James Vella
Reserve Referee: Michael Smaill
Video Referee: Gerard Sutton
Captain’s Challenge: Liam Rush

Tuesday 18 October
Tonga v Papua New Guinea, Totally Wicked Stadium, St Helens, 7.30pm
Match Driver: Marcus Griffiths
Referee: Liam Moore
Touch Judges: James Child and Belinda Sharpe
Reserve Referee: Marcus Griffiths
Video Referee: Ben Thaler
Captain’s Challenge: Wyatt Raymond

Wednesday 19 October 
Wales v Cook Islands, Leigh Sports Village, Leigh, 7.30pm
Match Driver: Michael Smaill
Referee: Robert Hicks
Touch Judges: Rochelle Tamarua and Todd Smith
Reserve Referee: Michael Smaill
Video Referee: Tom Grant
Captain’s Challenge: Darian Furner

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