World Rugby has announced the match official appointments for a busy schedule of men’s July and August international matches, including the appointments for the British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa.
IRFU Referees Andrew Brace and Frank Murphy will both take charge of games in July. Brace will referee the game between England and USA in Twickenham on July 4th while Murphy will will be Assistant Referee for South Africa against Georgia on July 3rd. Murphy will take charge of the 2nd test between South Africa and Georgia a week later.
Chris Busby is named as Assistant Referee 2 for Georgia’s game against Scotland on July 17th.
Ireland’s game against Japan on July 3rd will be refereed by Karl Dickson (RFU) with Mathieu Raynal (FFR) taking charge of the game against USA on July 10th.
The historic match between the British and Irish Lions and Japan at Murrayfield on June 26th will be refereed by Pascal Gauzere (FFR).
With anticipation building ahead of the British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa, the three tests between the World Champions and the Lions will be refereed by Nic Berry (Australia), Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand) and Mattieu Raynal (France), each also performing Assistant Referee duties. Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand) will perform Television Match Official (TMO) duties for the three tests.
With a need to maintain a bubble, the Lions tour matches will feature non-neutral appointments with Wayne Barnes (England), Jaco Peyper and AJ Jacobs (both South Africa) taking charge of matches.
Chairman of the World Rugby Match Officials Selection Committee Graham Mourie said:
“The July tests represent an important milestone for the match officials as they prepare for Rugby World Cup 2023 in France following the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic over the last year.
“While travel restrictions and other Covid-19 considerations have been observed, a bumper schedule of matches provides an excellent opportunity for a wider group of match officials to take charge of test and representative matches over the period, and we are delighted to see the likes of Nika Amashukeli from Georgia making his debut in a test involving a Six Nations team.
“The British and Irish Lions tests against South Africa and Japan are a natural focus for rugby fans – and congratulations to Pascal, Nic, Ben and Mattieu on their appointments – but I would also like to extend my congratulations to everyone selected. I am sure they will do their nations proud.”
World Rugby Head of Match Officials Joel Jutge added: “With just over two years to go until Rugby World Cup 2023 and elite and international rugby returning around the world, the July internationals provide an important opportunity to build momentum, further develop our culture across the team of officials and focus on consistency of decision-making.
“I have been pleased by how the team of match officials have responded to the challenge of the pandemic despite several not being able to perform on the international stage. We have developed a strong bond and culture and we are ready for what will be a very busy July and August.”