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Jutge takes top IRB referee role
ESPN Staff
August 3, 2012
Referee Joel Jutge in action during Rugby World Cup 2007, Wales v Japan, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales, September 20, 2007
Joel Jutge has been appointed IRB high performance match official manager © Getty Images
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Joël Jutge has been appointed as International Rugby Board (IRB) high performance match official manager.

The 46-year-old Frenchman succeeds Paddy O'Brien in the role, with the outgoing chief set for a new role working with Sevens officials prior to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Jutge will also sit on the IRB's referee selection panel, alongside former Scotland international John Jeffrey, Lyndon Bray, Tappe Henning, Donal Courtney and Clayton Thomas.

Jutge took the whistle for 35 Tests between 1996 and 2007, including two Rugby World Cups, before retiring in 2009. Since then he has served as referee manager for the Fédération Française de Rugby (FFR).

"Joël proved to be an outstanding candidate during a process that featured excellent candidates," Jeffrey said.

"His vision, experience, skills and excellent ability to identify and develop up and coming talent and manage high performance referees are superbly suited to the role."

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