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Andrea Piardi to become first Italian to referee URC Final

By Ian Cameron
Will Skelton of Barbarians is shown a red card by Referee, Andrea Piardi during the International match between England and Barbarians at Twickenham Stadium on June 19, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images for Barbarians)

In a historic moment for Italian rugby, Andrea Piardi has been appointed to referee the URC Grand Final between DHL Stormers and Munster, set to take place in Cape Town this weekend.

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This remarkable achievement marks Piardi as the first Italian match official to oversee a URC Grand Final.

At the young age of 30, Piardi has already established himself as a rising star in the world of rugby officiating. He is set to be a part of the match officials team for the upcoming Rugby World Cup in France. Piardi made his league debut in February 2019 when he took charge of the Munster versus Southern Kings match. Since then, he has amassed an impressive record, having officiated in 35 league games and seven matches in European Professional Club Rugby competitions.

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Over the past two seasons, Piardi has received high-profile appointments, particularly in the playoffs. In 2022, he refereed two knockout games, showcasing his capabilities in intense and high-stakes encounters. Most recently, he was in charge of the quarter-final clash between Glasgow Warriors and Munster earlier this month, further solidifying his reputation as a solid official.

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Piardi’s Match Officials team will consist of Mike Adamson (SRU) and Craig Evans (WRU) as Assistant Referee 1 and 2, respectively. Ben Whitehouse (WRU), who has been selected for the World Cup alongside Joy Neville, will serve as Television Match Official. The team will have the combined experience of 244 league games.

Speaking about the selections, Tappe Henning, URC Head of Match Officials, said: “It is the biggest day of the season for the teams and the same is true for our referees. We have a very competitive group of senior officials, so the independent selection panel has had a lot to consider.

“In the URC we have to balance neutrality and performance and Andrea fits nicely into those categories. We have seen strong displays from him this season backed up by confident decision-making and clear communication. I would like to congratulate Andrea on this important selection and I look forward to seeing him in action in Cape Town.”

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