Wales Rugby League are celebrating having four local match officials at a professional rugby league match for the first time, the game being West Wales Raiders v Rochdale Hornets this Saturday at Stebonheath Park (kick-off 3pm).
Bridgend-based James Jones, the head of match officials for Wales, will referee, with Kristoff Young from Chepstow running the line alongside English official Andrew Marsh.
Rob Apsee from Cardiff will be the fourth official with Rhys Williams from Pontypool being the Covid standby.
It will be Young’s first time as touch-judge in a professional rugby league game having been a regular in the middle at community and academy matches throughout England and Wales this season, as well as refereeing Cardiff Demons’ first ever match in the Women’s Super League South last week.
For Apsee and Williams, it will be their first involvement as an official in a professional rugby league match having refereed many matches in the community game in Wales this season.
Jones, who refereed at the highest level in domestic European rugby union, as well as in international matches, before transferring to the 13-man game in 2013, is delighted with the progress that the match officials are making in Wales.
He said: “Four Wales Rugby League match officials appointed to a professional game is a big milestone for us. It’s something that’s never happened before.
“It’s huge for us and I have been working on achieving something like this since I started in the role as head of match officials in Wales.
“I’ve refereed in this league before but it’s a new experience for Kristoff being a touch-judge and the first RFL professional grade appointments for Rob and Rhys. I’m a very proud head of match officials and it’ll great to be officiating with them all on the day.”