Alain Rolland has announced that he will retire from refereeing at the conclusion of the current season.

The Irish referee took charge of the World Cup final in 2007 and officiated over 65 International Tests and more than 70 European Cup matches, including two Heineken Cup finals.

Speaking about his decision to retire, Rolland cited family reasons as well as the fact that the next World Cup was two years away.

Rolland said: "The first thing to say is that, now I have decided that this will be my last season, I can turn my complete focus to continuing to enjoy my refereeing as much as ever and performing to the best of my ability.

"I have had an incredible journey and over the summer, I have thought long and hard about this - I have discussed it fully with my family and with (IRFU Director of Referees) Owen Doyle, and it just really feels that I am making the right call.

"There are several factors involved which all add up; Rugby World Cup is fully two years away, I am starting a new job, and I want to spend more time with Lizzie and our young family who have been very patient, I cannot thank them enough for their total support over such a long time."