The south African has the honour for the second time

It’s a huge honour to be asked to referee the Rugby World Cup curtain-raiser – and for the second time in his career Jaco Peyper will referee the World Cup opener.

The South Africa official will take the whistle for France versus New Zealand on 8 September, to open World Cup 2023. He previously refereed the England versus Fiji opener at Rugby World Cup 2015 at Twickenham.

Peyper will be assisted in the opening match by Karl Dickson (England) and Christophe Ridley (England) with Tom Foley (England) as the Television Match Official.

The opening match kicks off at 8pm – 9pm local time – and will be played at the Stade de France.

Related: Full list of Rugby World Cup referees for France 2023

Who else has refereed World Cup opener?

1987 Bob Fordham of Australia refereed New Zealand 70-6 Italy

1991 Jim Fleming of Scotland refereed England 12-18 New Zealand

1995 Derek Bevan of Wales refereed South Africa 27-18 Australia

1999 Paddy O’Brien of New Zealand refereed Wales 23-18 Argentina

2003 Paul Honiss of New Zealand refereed Australia 24-8 Argentina

2007 Tony Spreadbury of England refereed France 12-17 Argentina

2011 George Clancy of Ireland refereed New Zealand 41-10 Tonga

2015 Jaco Peyper of South Africa refereed England 35-11 Fiji

2019 Nigel Owens of Wales refereed Japan 30-10 Russia

On three occasions, Argentina have been one of the teams in the World Cup opener. If you count the match official or the teams playing, on five occasions there has been New Zealander involvement in the opening match of the Rugby World Cup. With the all Blacks facing France to open the 2023 tournament, that will make it six.

Let us know what you think of Jaco Peyper refereeing the World Cup opener at or on social media. 

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