We caught up with international rugby referee Luke Pearce as he prepares to officiate his first World Cup.

All Sports own Luke Pearce, son of Sales Director Andrew is soon to make his Rugby World Cup debut with the whistle, and we caught up with him about his journey as a referee ahead of the tournament.

When did you first get into referring?

I first started refereeing when I was 16, having played rugby at junior level. In September 2005 I referred my first game between Crediton 2s v Newton Abbott 3s.

When did you find out you had been selected for your first World Cup?

Selection was announced just ahead the European Cup quarter finals in March. I found out on the Friday but had to focus on Racing v Toulouse on the Sunday. Dad came out for the game in Paris so we had a few drinks to celebrate once the game had finished (he arrived a bit late for work on Monday)!!

Do you have a favourite rugby ground?

I don’t have a favourite stadium as such, but European matches are always very special due to the intense atmosphere.

What is the biggest challenge you face as a referee?

The biggest challenge is making decisions that the whole world understands whilst applying a law book and trying to allow a game of rugby to take place without becoming the centre of attention unnecessarily!

Do you have to do your homework on the teams you are officiating?

Yes – just the same as in all professional sport. We work as teams of officials to try to be as well prepared as possible.

How do you prepare for your first game now you’ve arrived in Japan?

We had a team bonding weekend last weekend as a group of officials, doing different activities (including some Japanese drumming!!) to make sure we are working at our optimal as a team. We are now back in Tokyo preparing for the first games this weekend. We do this by meeting as a group and discussing different aspects of the game as well as meeting with all of the coaches ahead of the tournament.

Tell us something we don’t know about referee Luke Pearce?

I enjoy going out on my bike, often doing long rides throughout Devon. One day I would love to do Lands End to John O Groats, but it will probably when I retire from refereeing!

Luke will take charge of Wales v Georgia, South Africa v Canada & New Zealand v Italy during the pool stages.

We wish Luke all the best for his World Cup debut in Japan.