Gardner gets big Bok Test

Angus Gardner has been appointed referee for the Rugby Championship match between the All Blacks and Springboks in Christchurch on 17 September.

The highly anticipated match will see Gardner become the first Australian-born referee in eight years to be given the whistle in the Rugby Championship, while it will be his 11th overall Test as a main match official. 

Referee Mathieu Raynal of France will also make his Rugby Championship debut as a match official in the Test between Argentina and Australia.

Meanwhile, Jaco Peyer will take charge of the tournament opener – the first Bledisloe CupTest between Australia and New Zealand in Sydney – and is one of three referees to have received two appointments in this year’s championship, the others being Jérôme Garcès of France and England’s Wayne Barnes.

Nigel Owens of Wales will referee one game in the Championship and another match between Australia and New Zealand in the third Bledisloe Cup match.

Anthony Buchanan, chairman of the World Rugby match official selection committee, says it is time to develop fresh talent in the buildup to the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

'At the moment, we need to be providing the best referees for the best games while also ensuring that when Rugby World Cup 2019 comes around, we will have an established group of top-class, in-form officials with the necessary experience to perform at the highest level under pressure. Our focus continues to be clear and consistent decision-making, and the highest standards of physical conditioning,' said Buchanan.

'Angus performed well in his debut Six Nations match this year and also in June when he refereed South Africa against Ireland in Johannesburg, so his appointment to a Rugby Championship game is on merit and very pleasing for us. Likewise, Mathieu did well in the first South Africa versus Ireland Test in Cape Town, so he also deserves his chance.'

Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

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Mariette Adams