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Australian, Kiwi and French referees named for the Springboks versus Lions Test series

By Sam Smith
(Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

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Nic Berry (Australia), Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand) and Mathieu Raynal (France) have been appointed to officiate the Test matches between the Springboks and British and Irish Lions. The trio will be joined by five South African referees for the tour, which kicks off early next month.


Jaco Peyper, AJ Jacobs, Marius van der Westhuizen and television match officials Marius Jonker and Stuart Berry were all named on the referee panel announced by World Rugby for the series. Furthermore, Mike Adamson from Scotland will referee the Springboks’ return to Test rugby against Georgia on July 2, with Ireland’s Frank Murphy taking charge of the second Test against the Lelos on July 9.

 Jacobs will hold the whistle in the opening tour match between the Lions and British and Irish Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday, July 3, while Peyper will be the man in the middle in the midweek clash between the Sharks and Lions on July 7 as well as the South Africa A match in Cape Town on July 14.

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The series will be particularly significant for Peyper, as it will be his fourth Lions tour as a match official. He served as an assistant referee in South Africa in 2009 (matches against the Royal XV and the Sharks), while he refereed in the 2013 and 2017 Lions tours to Australia (Waratahs) and New Zealand (first Test) respectively.

Berry will take charge of the first Test between the Springboks and the Lions at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday, July 24, with O’Keeffe and Raynal assisting him, and New Zealand’s Brendon Pickerill serving as the TMO.

The same referee team will be on duty in the last two Tests, with O’Keeffe taking over the whistle in the second Test in Johannesburg on Saturday, July 31, while Raynal will take charge of the final Test at the same venue on Saturday, August 7, where Pickerill retains his role as TMO. Van der Westhuizen will also serve in the capacity of assistant referee and Jonker as the TMO in the Tests between the Springboks and Georgia on July 2 and 9respectively, with Adamson and Murphy also handed assistant referee duties in these matches.


SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus, who last Saturday named the 46-strong Springboks squad, said: “Participating in a Lions series is a remarkable achievement, especially since this significant occasion only comes around every twelve years, so I’d like to congratulate our match officials who have been appointed to officiate in this year’s spectacle. They are all world-class referees and their appointments serve as confirmation of that.”


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