New Zealander Ben O'Keeffe will take charge of proceedings in Paris on Saturday night
Ben O’Keeffe has been confirmed as the England v South Africa referee with the New Zealander given a semi-final despite receiving plenty of criticism from France after their defeat to the Springboks.
O’Keeffe took charge of South Africa’s 29-28 quarter-final victory which knocked the hosts out of their own tournament on Sunday night before France captain Antoine Dupont suggested the refereeing was “not up to the level of what was at stake”.
It was a rare attack on officials from the supreme scrum-half with France unhappy at the refusal to award them crucial penalties in what ultimately turned out to be a one-point game against South Africa.
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Saturday’s fixture at the Stade de France will be O’Keeffe’s first World Cup semi-final with the whistle and he will be assisted by Andrew Brace, who is continuing Ireland’s involvement in the tournament, and fellow Kiwi Paul Williams. Compatriot Brendon Pickerill is the TMO.
Australian Angus Gardner will take charge of Friday night’s first semi-final in the French capital as Argentina take on New Zealand. Another Aussie in Nic Berry will run touch alongside England’s Karl Dickson with Wales’ Ben Whitehouse acting as TMO.
It will be Gardner’s first RWC knockout fixture but the fifth time he has overseen the Pumas against the All Blacks. Interestingly, he was the man in the middle when Argentina famously beat New Zealand 25-15 back in November 2020.
O’Keeffe will take charge of the Springboks for the third time at this tournament after also overseeing their pool-stage defeat to Ireland as well as last weekend’s quarter-final.
World Rugby confirmed that South African Jaco Peyper was not considered for selection due to the calf injury that forced him to hobble off 15 minutes into Argentina’s win over Wales in the first quarter-final in Marseille.