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James Jones happy to be refereeing Welsh Origin

25th January 2017, 14:05

James Jones happy to be refereeing Welsh Origin

Welsh referee James Jones is delighted to be taking charge of the pre-season friendly between North Wales Crusaders and South Wales Ironmen at Queensway in Wrexham this Sunday (kick-off 2.30pm).

Welsh referee James Jones is delighted to be taking charge of the pre-season friendly between North Wales Crusaders and South Wales Ironmen at Queensway in Wrexham this Sunday (kick-off 2.30pm).

 

Jones switched from rugby union to rugby league three years ago after a long and successful spell with the Welsh Rugby Union and was at one point the second choice referee in Wales to Nigel Owens.

 

In a professional rugby union career that ran for over ten years, he refereed matches at the highest level including those in the European Cup, French Top 14, Pro12 and English Premiership, as well as games in the Welsh Premiership, British and Irish Cup or WRU National Cup. He was also a referee at World Sevens level and was considered to referee the World Cup Final in 2009 had Wales not been in (and eventually won) the game.

 

Following his transfer over to refereeing the 13-man game in 2014, unlike other big name rugby union player converts in the past like Jonathan Davies and John Devereux, he has had to start at the bottom with the Rugby Football League and has been refereeing community games in England and Wales and running the line in Super League and the Championships. But now he is finally being given a chance in the middle in a professional game.

 

“I’m over the moon to be given the chance to referee a professional Rugby League game,” he said. “I don't know whose more excited - me or my Dad!

 

“It’s a great opportunity and very special moment refereeing our two Welsh teams, North Wales Crusaders and South Wales Ironmen, and a proud day for Wales Rugby League. It’s the first game for the Ironmen since they renamed from the Scorpions so that’s historic in itself.

 

“Having had promotion this season, it’s fantastic to have this appointment and it will also will be nice that both teams may actually understand my accent! It's pre-season but I am excited about the challenges ahead in the 2017 season and hopefully there will be more professional appointments as the season continues.”

 

Wales Rugby League’s National Development Manager, Idris Evans, said: “At Wales Rugby League, we want to increase our pool of referees all the time and add officials to Super League as well the international circuit for tournaments like the European Championship and World Cup. James is a proven international referee and he deserves this step-up as he's shown his commitment to both developing himself as a referee and the game as a whole in Wales. This opportunity for him is one I'm sure he will relish. and prove himself worthy of participating.

 

“This shows the opportunities for referees to develop their skills in the community game to progress into the pro game. WRL are always on the look-out for working with and developing new referees and will be running and series of courses. to qualify new match officials in the spring ready for the new season in May.”

 

Email idris.evans@walesrugbyleague.co.uk and WRL’s referee co-ordinator ian_curzon@sky.com for more details.