European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) have announced the referees for rounds three and four of the Heineken Champions Cup pool stages, the December double headers.
Cardiff Blues face the formidable task of playing current Gallagher Premiership, and two-time Heineken Cup, champions Saracens. The English side currently sit top of pool three after a victory away at Glasgow and a comfortable bonus-point home win over Lyon.
We, on the other hand, were not able to follow our away win over Lyon up with a victory over Glasgow, and fell to a heavy defeat at the Arms Park leaving us third, a point behind the Scottish side.
The first game of the double header sees John Mulvihill’s men travel to Allianz Park on Sunday 9th December, where Romain Poite will take charge of the game.
A former policeman, Poite has nearly 200 club games to his name and refereed at the 2011 and 2015 World Cups. He took charge of Leinster v Wasps and Leicester v Scarlets in rounds two and three.
The 39-year-old has officiated six previous Cardiff Blues games resulting in five wins and a single defeat. One of the matches was the 2009/10 European Challenge Cup semi-final win over Wasps, while he also ran the line in Bilbao as we won the 2017/18 second tier competition.
That night’s referee was Jerome Garces, and it is he who referees the return fixture as Saracens visit the Arms Park on Saturday 15th December.
An injury caused him to cut short a rugby career on the wing, forcing the 45-year-old to take up the whistle and he has gone on to referee over 150 club games, as well as the 2015 Rugby World Cup semi-final.
Garces has refereed five Cardiff Blues European games aside from last season’s final, with a record of two wins and three defeats. He also took charge of a match on the way to the 2010 Final, the quarter-final win over Newcastle Falcons.