STATEMENT: Referee's confirmed for Rugby World Cup semi-finals - Ruck

STATEMENT: Referee’s confirmed for Rugby World Cup semi-finals

World Rugby has announced the Emirates Match Officials for the Rugby World Cup 2023 semi-finals at Stade de France this weekend.

Angus Gardner (Australia) will referee Argentina v New Zealand in Saint-Denis on Friday, 20 October (21:00 CET). He will be joined by assistant referees Nic Berry (Australia) and Karl Dickson (England) with Ben Whitehouse (Wales) as Television Match Official.

Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand) will take charge of England v South Africa in Saint-Denis on Saturday, 21 October (21:00 CET). He will be joined by assistant referees Andrew Brace (Ireland) and Paul Williams (New Zealand) and TMO Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand).

  • It will be a first Rugby World Cup semi-final for both Angus Gardner and Ben O’Keeffe.
  • Gardner will referee Argentina v New Zealand for the fifth time in what is his first Rugby World Cup knockout match as a referee.
  • The Australian official was in the middle for Argentina’s historic 25-15 victory in November 2020.
  • He also refereed their most recent meeting, won 41-12 by New Zealand in July, in the Rugby Championship.
  • It will be Gardner’s fourth match in the middle at RWC 2023 and a fifth of the tournament for O’Keeffe.
  • The New Zealand official will referee England v South Africa for the second time, having been in the middle for South Africa’s 42-39 victory in June 2018.
  • It will be a first men’s Rugby World Cup semi-final for all assistant referees and TMOs.
  • However, Ben Whitehouse was TMO for the women’s RWC 2021 semi-final between England and Canada last November.

The selection is based on merit and the wider team will remain in contention for the Rugby World Cup 2023 bronze final and final.

World Rugby can confirm that Jaco Peyper (South Africa) wasn’t considered, owing to a calf injury sustained during the Wales v Argentina quarter-final in Marseille.

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “I would like to congratulate Angus and Ben, the assistant referees and TMOs on their selection for the semi-finals.

“The match official group as a whole have played a full and positive role in an exceptional Rugby World Cup, including a compelling set of quarter-finals.”

World Rugby High Performance 15s Match Officials Manager Joël Jutge added: “Congratulations to all selected. This is a team effort, and the selection reflects the hard work of the group as a whole, and the encouragement and support they give each other.

“I would also like to pay tribute to Jaco Peyper, who has been ruled out through injury. He would have been in contention. We wish him a speedy recovery.”

Five players who underperformed in the World Cup quarter-finals

We take a look at five players who failed to perform in the quarter-finals of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.

#1. Andrew Porter (Ireland)

Irish Independent 5/10: “Pinged twice in the opening minutes, once at the breakdown and once in the scrum. Indeed, he drew the whistle from Wayne Barnes in two of the game’s first three scrums. Running dialogue with the ref but seemed frustrated throughout.”

Planet Rugby 3/10: “His illegalities at the scrum finally caught up with him as Wayne Barnes continually penalised Porter for not driving straight. However, it was his needless infringement in the opening minute which set the tone.”

RUCK 5/10:Penalised in an early scrum, as his hips were too wide in the pack. A big hit on Will Jordan on the 20th phase, as Ireland defended strong. Couldn’t support Doris in time for his carry, as the number eight was isolated, and Porter couldn’t stop Savea’s turnover. Penalised twice more in the scrum for the same offence, in a performance he would want to forget in the pack. “