Referee Appointments for Rugby World Cup Semi-Finals Announced

Referee Appointments for Rugby World Cup Semi-Finals Announced

Referee Selection for Rugby World Cup Semi-Finals

New Zealand’s Ben O’Keeffe will referee the upcoming Rugby World Cup semi-final clash between England and the reigning champions South Africa, despite facing criticism for his performance in the Springboks’ quarter-final match against France.

Meanwhile, Australian referee Angus Gardner will officiate the other semi-final match featuring Argentina and New Zealand, scheduled for Friday.

Controversy Surrounding Ben O’Keeffe

Ben O’Keeffe found himself in the midst of controversy following South Africa’s narrow 29-28 victory over France. France captain Antoine Dupont publicly criticized O’Keeffe, particularly for his handling of the rucks during the match.

Dupont expressed dissatisfaction with some calls and suggested that certain situations warranted penalties that were not awarded.

While acknowledging the challenges, Dupont refrained from being a sore loser but emphasized the need for fair refereeing.

Additional Criticism and Previous Matches

O’Keeffe also faced criticism from the French team regarding a controversial play where Cheslin Kolbe blocked a conversion attempt by Thomas Ramos after Peato Mauvaka’s try.

TV footage indicated that Kolbe had crossed the try-line just before the kicker initiated the conversion, raising questions about the legality of the play.

The 34-year-old New Zealander had previously officiated the Springboks’ match against Ireland during the pool stage.

First World Cup Semi-Final for O’Keeffe and Gardner

Ben O’Keeffe and Angus Gardner will be making their World Cup semi-final refereeing debuts in these upcoming matches.

South African referee Jaco Peyper, who was initially considered, will not participate due to an injury sustained during the quarter-final match between Argentina and Wales.

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