Doleman has been a professional referee since 2020

James Doleman was born on 25 April 1991 in Tauranga, New Zealand.

Doleman went to university in Otago and wanted to be a teacher.

He started being a referee as a student in Dunedin but only became a professional official in 2020. Since then he has taken charge of Super Rugby and Mitre 10 Cup matches.

Doleman made his debut in international rugby whistling Australia v France in 2021. He is due to make his Six Nations debut in round two of the 2023 tournament, he will take charge of England v Italy.

He told SCMP of his appointment at the tournament: “It’s one of those goals as a referee.

“Aside from the World Cup, the Six Nations is the pinnacle. Being involved in a tournament like that, with the history, coming from New Zealand, the fans up north make the Six Nations very special.

“At the end of the day, referees get into refereeing because we’re fans of rugby. The reason I do it is to be involved in those occasions.”

James Doleman: Has he refereed England before?

Doleman has refereed England before when he officiated their 2022 series with Australia. He received mixed feedback for his performance in the series with some calling him a “novice” but others saying he was “clear”.

One person who was not a fan was former England head coach Eddie Jones. He accused Doleman of trying to help Australia. “That happens in every game I’ve seen,” Jones said. “One team gets a red and the opposition gets evened up, because they’re nice blokes, referees.

“I’m not criticising the referees, I’m not using it as an excuse, that’s the reality of rugby. I think when you play against 14 men, the referee has a significant impact on the game. He evens it up. He helps the team with the red card.”

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