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Rugby Championship to continue use of non-neutral referees for Wallabies versus the All Blacks

By Online Editors

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World Rugby has announced the match official appointments for the Tri-Nations 2020, which kicks off in Australia on 31 October. The three-nation championship featuring Argentina, Australia and New Zealand will be played across six weekends, starting in Sydney with the third Bledisloe Cup match between Australia and New Zealand and concluding with Australia versus Argentina on 5 December.


Across both hemispheres, appointments for the October to December temporary window have been made on a regional basis, recognising the challenges of ongoing national Covid-19 travel and quarantine measures.

In the case of Tri-Nations, the quarantining measures and need to maintain a bubble means that nation neutrality is not possible, and the team of match officials will come from Australia and New Zealand with Ben O’Keeffe, Paul Williams, Angus Gardner and Nic Berry refereeing. All coaches are supportive of this necessary position.

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The Breakdown assesses whether the ABs should keep playing two 10s
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The Breakdown assesses whether the ABs should keep playing two 10s

Chair of the World Rugby Match Officials Selection Committee Graham Mourie said: “The Tri-Nations will be a fantastic spectacle and full credit to everyone from the respective unions and SANZAAR for tackling a tricky environment to make it happen.

“As with the tests in the northern hemisphere, we have selected a regional team of match officials in recognition of ongoing and necessary restrictions in relation to Covid-19. The team will be subject to regular testing and hygiene measures in line with World Rugby’s return-to-play protocols.

“The lockdown period provided an opportunity to further focus on key game management areas while maintaining fitness standards and the team selected for the Tri-Nations are in excellent shape and looking forward to the challenge ahead.”



Oct 31 – Australia v New Zealand (Ben O’Keeffe, NZR)

Nov 7 – Australia v New Zealand (Nic Berry, RA)

Nov 14 – New Zealand v Argentina (Angus Gardner, RA)


Nov 21 – Argentina v Australia (Paul Williams, NZR)

Nov 28 – Argentina v New Zealand (Nic Berry, RA)

Dec 5 – Australia v Argentina (Ben O’Keeffe, NZR)


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