Before the start of the quarter-final matches, the World Cup organizing body announced the names of the referees who will officiate the various matches.
The match between France and South Africa will be officiated by New Zealand referee Ben O’Keefe.
He has already been selected for France’s XV match against Uruguay during the group stage.
The first is for an experienced referee. The organizing body for the France 2023 World Cup announced, during a press conference, the names of the referees appointed for the various quarter-final matches, on Saturday, October 14 and Sunday, October 15. For the French XV’s match against defending champions South Africa, New Zealander Ben O’Keefe was selected.
A French-speaking referee whom the French XV knows well
This will be the first time in his life for the 34-year-old referee, who is an ophthalmologist, and has never officiated a quarter-final match before. However, Ben O’Keefe has experience at international level. The Kiwis regularly participate in Super Rugby, the competition between Australian and New Zealand provinces, and also officiated at the 2019 World Cup in Japan. He was also part of the team that officiated in the final between South Africa and England, which the Springboks won.
The rule is also known to the French. He is also appreciated by the staff of the XV in France. Ben O’Keefe speaks French well having lived in France when he was six months younger, and has already officiated in a top 14 match.
In recent months, he was appointed to officiate the France-England match in the Six Nations Championship. He also refereed a friendly match between Scotland and France at the beginning of August, and returned to the French XV during the group stages of the World Cup, refereeing their match against Uruguay. During this match, he also issued a yellow card to Roman Taofifenua, after a violent contact with Uruguay’s opponent. After visiting the dugout, the yellow card remained yellow.
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During this World Cup, the New Zealander also officiated against South Africa and Ireland, which ended in a defeat for the Springboks. Therefore, he will return to South Africa to play the quarter-final match against France. During this event, the judging team will be entirely New Zealand, with Ben O’Keefe assisting Paul Williams, and James Dolman and Brendon Pickrell in charge of the video.
The other quarter-final matches will be officiated by South African Jaco Bieber (Wales – Argentina), Englishman Wayne Barnes (Ireland – New Zealand), and Frenchman Mathieu Raynal (England – Fiji).
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