The 2020 Guinness Six Nations enters the third round stage this weekend.
Here we take a look at the referees who will officiate the three crucial matches which take place across Saturday and Sunday.
Ben O’Keeffe – Italy v Scotland
New Zealander Ben O’Keeffe has refereed just three games in the Six Nations, one each in the last three editions of the tournament while he has acted as an assistant on five occasions.
The Auckland born 31-year-old’s first international match was the clash between Samoa and Georgia in Apia in 2016.
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— Pundit Arena (@PunditArena) February 18, 2020
O’Keeffe referees in Super Rugby where he made his fully-fledged debut in 2015 during a clash between the Highlanders and Crusaders.
The season before that, he acted as an assistant in Super Rugby while he refereed in New Zealand’s domestic competition, the Mitre 10 Cup, from 2013 onwards.
A week after his first international match, he refereed his first match involving a Tier 1 nation which was the clash between Scotland and Japan in the summer of 2016.
His first all Tier 1 match came later that year in November where Scotland and Argentina faced off in Murrayfield.
O’Keefe was the youngest referee selected at the 2019 Rugby World Cup and he officiated three pool games, including Japan’s historic victory over Scotland.
Ben O’Keeffe Factfile
Nationality: New Zealand
International Debut: Samoa v Georgia (Apia) June 11th 2016
Six Nations Record: 3 games [5 appearances as an assistant]
Yellow Cards Issued Six Nations: 1
Yellow Cards Per Six Nations Match: 0.3
Red Cards Issued Six Nations: 0
Most Recent Six Nations Appearance: Ireland v France (2019)
Matthew Carley – Wales v France
Matthew Carley refereed his first Six Nations match last year in the clash between Italy and France in Rome.
Before last year’s championship, the English referee was an assistant on six occasions while he also acted as an assistant in the opening fixture of the 2019 competition between France and Wales in Paris.
He was an assistant referee this year as well as he held the touchline for the clash between Wales and Italy in round one.
His first time refereeing an international match was the clash between Russia and Portugal in Sotchi in 2014.
Interestingly, he was the first official to wear a ‘Ref-Cam’, the camera which is attached to a referee’s shirt which offers an up-close and personal view for those watching on television.
This took place in a Championship clash between Newcastle Falcons and London Scottish during the 2012/13 season.
His first all Tier 1 Test match was between Scotland and New Zealand in November 2017.
He was an assistant referee during six matches of the pool stages of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Matthew Carley Factfile
International Debut: Russia v Portugal (Sotchi) 8th March 2014
Six Nations Record: 1 game (8 appearances as an assistant)
Yellow Cards Issued Six Nations: 1
Yellow Cards Issued Per Six Nations Match: 1
Red Cards Issued Six Nations: N/A
Most Recent Six Nations Appearance: Italy v France (2019)
Jaco Peyper – England v Ireland
South African referee Jaco Peyper has refereed eight Six Nations games in the past dishing out a remarkable five yellow cards and two red cards in the process. He has acted as an assistant on four occasions.
His first international match was a clash between Australia and Scotland in Newcastle, NSW, Australia in 2012.
Peyper made his Super Rugby debut in 2008 and he has refereed in both the 2015 and 2019 Rugby World Cups.
Peyper dished out a red card to Sebastien Vahaamahina in the 2019 World Cup quarter-final between Wales and France.
However, afterwards, Peyper was photographed with Welsh supporters appearing to mock the elbow to the head which saw France reduced to 14 men. This led to his non-selection for the semi-finals.
Jaco Peyper Factfile
International Debut: Australia v Scotland (Newcastle, NSW) 5th June 2012
Six Nations Record: 8 games (4 appearances as an assistant)
Yellow Cards Issued Six Nations: 5
Yellow Cards Issued Per Six Nations Match: 0.6
Red Cards Issued Six Nations: 2
Red Cards Issued Per Six Nations Match: 0.4
Most Recent Six Nations Appearance: Wales v England (2019)
Check out our guide to last weekend’s Six Nations referees.