Despite the ongoing debate around referee interpretations, the two South African derbies in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship on Saturday will be handled by overseas match officials.
Frank Murphy, an Irish former Munster, Leicester and Connacht scrumhalf, has been appointed as the man in the middle for the big game between the Stormers and Vodacom Bulls in Cape Town on Saturday afternoon.
Murphy is rated as one of the best referees in the competition, having handled last year’s PRO14 Rainbow Cup final between Benetton and the Bulls.
The Irishman will be assisted by an all-South African support, with AJ Jacobs and Aimee Barrett-Theron on touchline duty, while Marius van der Westhuizen is the television match official (TMO).
Later on Saturday afternoon, the Sharks will welcome a rejuvenated Lions side to Kings Park in Durban. That match will be handled by Ben Blain from the Scottish Rugby Union.
The 33-year-old Blain was heavily criticised by Stormers coach John Dobson for his officiating of the maul after the Cape side’s controversial 19-17 loss to Connacht in Galway.
Blain will also have a full South African support to call on. Cwengile Jadezweni and Griffin Colby have been appointed as the assistant referees, while Marius Jonker is the TMO.
Stormers v Vodacom Bulls
- Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town – KO 1pm IRE & UK / 2pm ITA & SA
- Referee: Frank Murphy (IRFU, 60th league game)
- AR 1: AJ Jacobs (SARU) AR 2: Aimee Barrett-Theron (SARU)
- TMO: Marius van der Westhuizen (SARU)
Sharks v Lions
- Kings Park, Durban – KO 15.05 IRE & UK / 16.05 ITA & SA
- Referee: Ben Blain (SRU, 18th league game)
- AR 1: Cwengile Jadezweni (SARU) AR 2: Griffin Colby (SARU)
- TMO: Marius Jonker (SARU)
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