Gardner confirmed for Super Rugby final

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman in Japan

Angus Gardner will be the first Aussie referee to officiate a Super Rugby title since 1996 when he takes the reins of the 2018 decider.

SANZAAR confirmed on Friday that Gardner had been appointed to referee the match, rewarding him for a year of consistent refereeing.

Gardner, 33, made his Super Rugby debut in 2012 and is now one of the most experienced officials on the Super Rugby panels, having notched up 60 matches.

This season he has refereed 13 matches, including last week's quarter-final between the Waratahs and the Highlanders last weekend.

Speculation that Gardner had been given the nod for the big game grew when Gardner's name was left out of the semi-final appointments this week, before SANZAAR's confirmation on Friday.

Gardner has received plenty of praise from coaches and spectators alike this season with his tendency to limit the use of the TMO and ability to allow games to flow without major interruptions.

Gardner whistled his first Test in 2016 and will referee two Tests in the Rugby Championship this year - the Argentina vs South Africa and South Africa vs New Zealand matches.

Angus Gardner has ticked off some milestones. Photo: Getty ImagesThe other match officials will be appointed after this weekend's semi-finals.

Wayne Erickson was the last Aussie to referee a Super Rugby final, taking charge in the inaugural decider in 1996.

Rugby Australia's head of refereeing Scott Young said the appointment was a big tick for Gardner's work.

“Angus is the foremost match official currently in Australia, and his appointment to the final is an acknowledgement of all the hard work that he and the team have put in," he said.

“The addition of Super Rugby veteran, Mitch Chapman has also enabled referees like Angus to see the game through the player's lenses and shows how much Rugby Australia is investing into our match official program.

“The promotion this year to be the man in the middle for the Final is a testament to all of Angus’ perseverance, dedication and impressive performances throughout this 2018 Super Rugby season.

“We are looking forward to producing more world class referees like Angus and are working constantly towards future expansions into our match official developmental pathways."

The Super Rugby final will take place on Saturday August 4, between the winners of the Lions-Waratahs and Crusaders-Hurricanes semi-finals.