Rugby World Cup 2023 referees: Who is Mathieu Raynal?
The only French referee among the 12 officials selected by World Rugby, Mathieu Raynal will be looking to fly under the radar during Rugby World Cup 2023. ALSO READ: Rugby World Cup: Youngest try scorers by position – WATCH MATHIEU RAYNAL Born in 1981, Mathieu Raynal hails from Perpignan in southern France. He peaked as a player […]
The only French referee among the 12 officials selected by World Rugby, Mathieu Raynal will be looking to fly under the radar during Rugby World Cup 2023.
Born in 1981, Mathieu Raynal hails from Perpignan in southern France. He peaked as a player in 1998 when his junior Perpignan team won the Junior French Championships.
He then put down the ball and picked up the whistle.
At 25, Raynal was promoted to referee in France’s second division, part of Rugby Pro D2 in 2006/07. The following season he was promoted to the Top 14 refereeing panel.
His first Test match was the game between Malta and the Netherlands. In the 2012 Autumn Internationals he handled his first Tier 1 fixture between Scotland and Tonga.
2013 was a year to forget for Raynal. In the Pro 14 encounter between Montpellier and Racing he got caught between a rock and a hard place – that is two players. In doing so he fractured a tibia and fibula.
He was ruled out of refereeing action for 11 months which stalled his progression on the international scene.
He made his Rugby World Cup debut in 2019, controlling the game between South Africa and Namibia.
Of the four French referees that were in Japan in 2019, Raynal is the only one to have retained his position on the refereeing panel four years later.
Raynal has not shied away from handing out red cards.
He famously gave CJ Stander his marching orders for for a late and high challenge on Pat Lambie in the Test between the Springboks and Ireland at Newlands in 2016.
In 2022 he reportedly dropped down the World Rugby pecking order, not for a controversial red card, but for awarding a time-wasting free-kick to New Zealand in their Bledisloe Cup clash against Australia in Melbourne.
Raynal stood by his decision as the aggrieved Wallabies, who were in a potentially match-winning position until the 48 seconds it took for them to take their free-kick was deemed time-wasting and overturned. They lost the game 39-37.