The three main officials for the Lions’ tests against the All Blacks this summer have been announced.
World Rugby listed a full schedule of refereeing appointments for this summer, and in among that it was revealed that Frenchman Jerome Garces and Romain Poite, and Jaco Peyper of South Africa will be the men in the middle for Warren Gatland’s side’s fixtures against New Zealand in Auckland and Wellington.
Peyper will take charge of the first test, and he will be well known to many of the players involved already. The 36-year-old was the referee for Ireland’s clash with the All Blacks in Dublin last year, which was notable for his allowing a number of heavy tackles from the visiting side to go unpunished. He also officiated Ireland’s Six Nations clash with France earlier that year, and was shortlisted for Referee of the Year in 2016.
Garces will referee the second test the following week. The 43-year-old is a regular at high-profile European club matches and was picked to officiate the 2015 World Cup semi-final between the All Blacks and South Africa. He also comes with previous Lions experience, having reffed two of the side’s warm-up games during the 2013 tour of Australia.
The final test, and what could be the deciding match depending on how results have gone in the first two, will be overseen by Poite. As with Garces, he has Lions experience, but his is somewhat more substantial having officiated the final test against the Wallabies four years ago. More recently, he was the referee in England’s Six Nations victory against Italy (among other games in the tournament), a match that had many scrambling around for the rule book due to Conor O’Shea’s tactics with the Azzurri.
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