Jump to main content



Match Officials Confirmed For Rugby World Cup Pool Stages

Joy Neville, Chris Busby, Andrew Brace and Brian MacNeice 22/5/2023

Television match official Joy Neville, assistant referee Chris Busby, referee Andrew Brace and television match official Brian MacNeice are pictured together, earlier in the year, at the Aviva Stadium ©INPHO/Tom Maher

South Africa’s Jaco Peyper will referee the Rugby World Cup 2023 opening match between hosts France and New Zealand at Stade de France on 8 September.

With global excitement building, World Rugby has announced the Emirates Match Officials appointments for the 40 matches that comprise the pool stage of what promises to be the sport’s greatest celebration of togetherness.

Ireland’s opening game against Romania will be refereed by Nika Amashukeli (GRU), while Wayne Barnes (RFU) will take charge of the match against Tonga.

Ben O’Keeffe (NZR) will referee the match against South Africa and the final pool match against Scotland will be refereed by Nic Berry (Aus).

Google Ad Manager – 300×250 – In Article

Andrew Brace (IRFU) will take charge of Italy v Namibia in the opening round with Chris Busby (IRFU) as Assistant Referee 2. Joy Neville (IRFU), the first female match official in men’s Rugby World Cup history, will be a TMO for five matches, starting with Italy v Namibia in Saint-Étienne on 9 September. The 4th meber of the Ireland contingent, Brian MacNeice, gets his tournament underway as TMO for Australia against Georgia

View Rugby World Cup 2023 pool phase appointments here

On a big opening weekend that will see four referees make their Rugby World Cup debuts in the middle, France’s Mathieu Raynal will take charge of England versus Argentina in Pool D, while Australia’s Angus Gardner will referee world champions South Africa against Scotland in Pool B.

England’s Luke Pearce will be in the middle for the final match of the pool stage, the Pool C meeting between Fiji and Portugal in Toulouse on 8 October.

The appointments follow confirmation that the Foul Play Review (Bunker) process will operate at Rugby World Cup 2023 after positive initial trials. Teams and match officials enter Rugby World Cup 2023 having jointly agreed guiding principles for officiating. This will promote clarity and alignment.

Chairman of the Match Officials Selection Committee Graham Mourie said: “I would like to extend my congratulations to the Emirates Match Officials selected for the Rugby World Cup 2023 pool stage.

“Like the players, they have earned their place on merit and have worked incredibly hard, making many sacrifices to be in contention for selection. These men and women are not only representing their nations, they are also representing the global officiating fraternity and truly are ‘everyone’s team’, playing their full part in enabling players to perform to their best at our pinnacle men’s event and we should all get behind them.”

World Rugby High Performance 15s Match Official Manager Joël Jutge added: “The journey to Rugby World Cup is never easy for match officials. There are fewer roles in sport with as much public scrutiny, but I am proud of how the team has responded to the ups and downs, always being open and acting with integrity.

“We arrive at the pool phase having worked incredibly hard. We have a strong bond, a superb work ethic and an unwavering spirit. There is respect and understanding between the officials and the teams and we are now focused on playing our part in what promises to be a very special Rugby World Cup 2023.”


Nika Amashukeli (Georgia), Wayne Barnes (England), Nic Berry (Australia), Andrew Brace (Ireland), Matthew Carley (England), Karl Dickson (England), Angus Gardner (Australia), Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand), Luke Pearce (England), Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Mathieu Raynal (France), Paul Williams (New Zealand).

Assistant Referees

Chris Busby (Ireland), Pierre Brousset (France), James Doleman (New Zealand), Craig Evans (Wales), Andrea Piardi (Italy), Christophe Ridley (England), Jordan Way (Australia).

Television Match Officials

Brett Cronan (Australia), Tom Foley (England), Marius Jonker (South Africa), Brian MacNeice (Ireland), Joy Neville (Ireland), Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand), Ben Whitehouse (Wales).