IRFU Referees Andrew Brace and Frank Murphy have been appointed to take charge of European semi-final action this weekend as the Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup competitions reach the business end of proceedings.
The appointments were announced today following a meeting of the EPCR’s selection committee, chaired by EPCR’s Head of Match Officials, Joel Jutge.
Brace, who recently refereed the Guinness PRO14 Final, will be the man in the middle for the Champions Cup last four clash between Exeter Chiefs and Toulouse on Saturday afternoon (Kick-off 3.30pm), while Murphy will be in charge of the Challenge Cup showdown between Bristol Bears and Bordeaux-Bègles on Friday evening (Kick-off 7.45pm).
It has been an excellent return to action for Irish officials in recent weeks and the appointment of Brace for Saturday’s semi-final at Sandy Park is another significant marker in the 32-year-old’s career, having carried out assistant referee duties at the Rugby World Cup in Japan last year.
“Andrew and Frank’s appointments to this weekend’s European semi-finals are a fair reflection of the hard work carried out by the IRFU’s High Performance Referee team over the last number of months,” IRFU Head of Referees, Dudley Phillips, said.
“Since the games have re-started, they have picked up where they left off and we look forward to watching their continued progress over the coming weekend.”
There will be further Irish involvement in Saturday’s Champions Cup semi-final clash of Racing 92 and holders, Saracens, at Paris La Défense Arena, with Cork native Eugene Ryan appointed as citing commissioner for that game. Nigel Owens will be the man in the middle.
Murphy takes charge of the first of the Challenge Cup semi-finals on Friday which pits Bristol Bears against Bordeaux-Bègles at Ashton Gate, while Scotland’s Mike Adamson will be in the middle for the second semi-final between RC Toulon and Leicester Tigers at Stade Félix Mayol on Saturday.
Heineken Champions Cup Semi-Finals:
Saturday 26th September:
Racing 92 v Saracens, Paris La Défense Arena, 1pm
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Exeter Chiefs v Toulouse, Sandy Park, 3.30pm
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Challenge Cup Semi-Finals:
Friday 25th September:
Bristol Bears v Bordeaux Begles, Ashton Gate Stadium, 7.45pm
Referee: Frank Murphy (Ireland)
Saturday 26th September:
RC Toulon v Leicester Tigers, Stade Félix Mayol, 8pm
Referee: Mike Adamson (Scotland).