Rugby Championship: Match officials confirmed for truncated tournament, July Tests and Rugby World Cup warm-up games

Adam Kyriacou
Ben O'Keeffe

The match officials for the Rugby Championship have been announced, with Ben O’Keeffe refereeing the opener between South Africa and Australia.

The New Zealand official will be assisted on the touchlines by Paul Williams and Andrea Piardi, with Brendon Pickerill the TMO for the fixture in Pretoria.

Later that same day, on July 8, Angus Gardner (Australia) will have the whistle for Argentina against New Zealand at Estadio Malvinas Argentina in Mendoza.

Round Two of the truncated Rugby Championship takes place the following Saturday with the Wallabies hosting the Pumas and All Blacks facing the Boks.

Mathieu Raynal gets All Blacks v Springboks

Jaco Peyper is the referee for the game in Sydney while Mathieu Raynal is in charge for the hotly anticipated fixture between New Zealand and South Africa.

There will then be a week’s break before the final round sees Australia take on New Zealand in the Bledisloe Cup at Melbourne Cricket Ground on July 29.

Englishman Wayne Barnes is in the middle for that showdown while Ireland’s Andrew Brace will referee the South Africa v Argentina clash in Johannesburg.

As well as announcing the Rugby Championship match officials, World Rugby revealed the officials for the July Tests and Rugby World Cup warm-up games.

World Rugby has confirmed it has put significant investment behind teams outside of the Rugby Championship and Six Nations to provide meaningful opposition to assist with Rugby World Cup preparations and beyond.

Highlights include, Argentina playing Spain in Madrid and Samoa facing Ireland in Bayonne on August 26, while the USA, who fell short of qualifying for France 2023, will travel to Europe to face Romania, Portugal and Georgia.

World Rugby Chairman, Sir Bill Beaumont said: “World Rugby exists to make the game better, more accessible and relevant for everyone. Our commitment to support the high-performance programmes of our performance unions with significant investment and coordination expertise reflects that ambition. This schedule of international fixtures is the culmination of a lot of collaboration and hard work between our high-performance staff and all our member unions.

“We anticipate that France 2023 will be the most compelling of all men’s Rugby World Cups. Chile are taking part in their first Rugby World Cup ever, Portugal their second after 2007, and the top of the World Rugby Men’s Rankings powered by Capgemini has never been so competitive. The preparation matches will give fans a foretaste of World Cup 2023 while providing match officials with great opportunities to perform ahead of rugby’s showcase event.”

The Rugby Championship 2023

South Africa v Australia

Date: Saturday, July 8
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (NZR)
Assistant Referees: Paul Williams (NZR), Andrea Piardi (FIR)
TMO: Brendon Pickerill (NZR)

Argentina v New Zealand

Date: Saturday, July 8
Venue: Estadio Malvinas Argentina, Mendoza
Referee: Angus Gardner (RA)
Assistant Referees: Nic Berry (RA), Jordan Way (RA)
TMO: Brett Cronan (RA)

Australia v Argentina

Date: Saturday, July 15
Venue: CommBank Stadium, Sydney
Referee: Jaco Peyper (SARU)
Assistant Referees: Paul Williams (NZR), James Doleman (NZR)
TMO: Marius Jonker (SARU)

New Zealand v South Africa

Date: Saturday, July 15
Venue: Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
Referee: Mathieu Raynal (FFR)
Assistant Referees: Angus Gardner (RA), Pierre Brousset (FFR)
TMO: Ben Whitehouse (WRU)

Australia v New Zealand

Date: Saturday, July 29
Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne
Referee: Wayne Barnes (RFU)
Assistant Referees: Karl Dickson (RFU), Christophe Ridley (RFU)
TMO: Tom Foley (RFU)

South Africa v Argentina

Date: Saturday, July 29
Venue: Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg
Referee: Andrew Brace (IRFU)
Assistant Referees: Nika Amashukeli (GRU), Chris Busby (IRFU)
TMO: Joy Neville (IRFU)

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