Alain Rolland

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Alain Rolland
Rolland's picture for the 2011 RWC.
Date of birth (1966-08-22) 22 August 1966 (age 52)
Place of birth France
Refereeing career
Years Competition Apps
Club Rugby
Six Nations Championship
Tri Nations Championship
The Rugby Championship
The Rugby World Cup
Total Tests


Alain Colm Pierre Rolland (born 22 August 1966) is a retired Irish Rugby Union Referee and former player. He played provincially for Leinster, and gained three caps for Ireland.[1] He refereed the final of the 2007 Rugby World Cup, and was an assistant referee in the final of the 2011 Rugby World Cup. In September 2013 he announced his intention to retire from refereeing at the end of the 2013/14 season.[1]


Playing career

During his playing days as a scrum-half, Rolland earned three caps for Ireland. He started the match on 27 October 1990 against Argentina, and gained further caps as a replacement against Italy in 1994 and the United States in 1995. He won 40 provincial caps for Leinster, and played club rugby for Blackrock College RFC. He also played 11 times for English club Moseley during the 1996/97 season.

Refereeing career

Rolland retired as a player at the start of the professional era and began refereeing, with his first Test appointment coming on 19 September 2001 when Wales beat Romania 81-9 at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.

He made his Six Nations refereeing debut six months later, when France beat Scotland 22-10 at Murrayfield, with his first Tri-Nations match following in July 2003, with New Zealand’s record 52-16 defeat of South Africa.

Rolland refereed in the 2003, 2007 & 2011 Rugby World Cups and was appointed to referee the final of the 2007 Rugby World Cup.[2]

On 22 February 2014, Rolland refereed his last International match as Wales defeated France 27-6 in the 2014 Six Nations Championship at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.[3] He refereed his last major European contest on 24 May 2014 in the Heineken Cup final at the Millennium Stadium.[4]

Rolland is a member of the Leinster Branch of Referees. His full-time job is as a mortgage broker in Dublin.[5]

Sam Warburton Red Card

Alain Rolland famously sent off Welsh Captain Sam Warburton in the first 10 minutes of their 2011 Rugby World Cup Semi Final against France. Sam Warburton had performed a tip tackle, and under the iRB's remits, any tackle of this type is to receive a red card, ragardless of intent.

Rolland received a large amount of unfair abuse mainly directed at his French father, and completely ignoring the fact that Rolland had played for Ireland. The abuse was comparable that received by Wayne Barnes after the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

This article written at the time of the incident shows that Rolland was correct. Rolland did more to illiminate the Tip Tackle from Rugby Union with that one correct red card, than the iRB had managed in 4 years of memo writing. It is now widely recognised all over the world that a Tip Tackle that takes a players legs past horizontal and lands them upon their head, neck or shoulders, will result in a red card.


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