Rugby World Cup: O'Keeffe to referee Wallabies' opener, Gardner and Berry in early action

Rugby World Cup
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Kiwi Ben O'Keeffe will referee the Wallabies' World Cup opener against Fiji in September and they will have French referees for their other three other pool matches in the official appointments announced overnight.

World Rugby confirmed the appointments on Saturday morning (AEST) and Kiwi Ben O'Keeffe will be the lead whistle blower for Australia's opening match against Fiji.

France's Romain Poite takes the reins for their second match, against Wales, while Mathieu Raynal and Pascal Gauzere will referee their games against Uruguay and Georgia, respectively. 

There's some good news for Australian referees as well with Angus Gardner and Nic Berry both handed the reins to at least three pool games for the World Cup.

Berry will be the first cab off the rank, named as an assistant for the Japan-Russia tournament opener while Gardner will referee France vs Argentina a night later.

Gardner is the referee for that match as well as Japan vs Ireland and Wales vs Uruguay, also named as an assistant for Fiji vs Uruguay, England vs Argentina and South Africa vs Canada.

Berry will have control of four matches, selected for Italy vs Namibia, England vs USA, France vs Tonga and Ireland vs Samoa, as well as being an assistant for the opener and South Africa vs Namibia.

The referees for the knockout stages will be named once the pool matches are done.

For all the tournament match official appointments, click here.

The Rugby World Cup kicks off on Friday September 20 with Japan taking on Russia at Tokyo Stadium. 


Referees for Wallabies' pool matches

Australia vs Fiji, Sapporo Dome, Saturday September 21, 2:45pm AEST

Referee: Ben O'Keeffe (NZL)

AR1: Luke Pearce (ENG)

AR2: Andrew Brace (IRL)

TMO: Rowan Kitt (ENG)

Australia vs Wales, Tokyo Stadium, Sunday September 29, 5:45pm AEST

Referee: Romain Poite (FRA)

AR1: Luke Pearce (ENG)

AR2: Karl Dickson (ENG)

TMO: Ben Skeen (NZL)

Australia vs Uruguay, Oita Stadium, Saturday October 5, 3:15pm AEST

Referee: Mathieu Raynal (FRA)

AR1: Jerome Garces (ENG)

AR2: Karl Dickson(ENG)

TMO: Ben Skeen (NZL)

Australia vs Georgia, Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa, Friday October 11, 8:15pm AEST

Referee: Pascal Gauzere (FRA)

AR1: Jerome Garces (FRA)

AR2: Shuhei Kubo (JPN)

TMO: Marius Jonker (RSA)


Angus Gardner


France vs Argentina, Saturday September 21, 5:15pm AEST

Japan vs Ireland, Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa, Saturday September 28, 5;15pm AEST

Wales vs Uruguay, Kumamoto Stadium, Sunday October 13, 6:15pm AEST

Assistant Referee

Fiji vs Uruguay, Kamaishi Recovery Stadium, Wednesday September 25, 3:15pm AEST

England vs Argentina, Tokyo Stadium, Saturday October 5, 6pm AEST

South Africa vs Canada, Kobe Misaki Stadium, Tuesday October 8, 8:15pm AEST

Nic Berry


Italy vs Namibia, Hanazono Rugby Stadium, Sunday September 22, 3;15pm AEST

England vs USA, Kobe Misaki Stadium, Thursday September 26, 8:45pm AEST

France vs Tonga, Kumamoto Stadium, Sunday October 6, 5:45pm AEST

Ireland vs Samoa, Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium Saturday October 12, 8:45pm AEST

Assistant Referee

Japan vs Russia, Tokyo Stadium, Friday September 20, 8:45pm AEST

South Africa vs Namibia, City of Toyota Stadium, Saturday September 28, 7:45pm AEST