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South Africa vs Ireland referee: Who is Rugby World Cup official Ben O’Keeffe?



New Zealand’s Ben O’Keeffe is one of the referees in France for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

It is the 34-year-old’s second tournament, having taken charge of three pool games as the youngest on-field official four years ago in Japan.

Born in Blenheim on New Zealand’s South Island, O’Keeffe started refereeing at the age of 19 and stepped up into the professional ranks five years later.

He was elevated to a first international fixture in 2015 as an assistant, before a refereeing debut in June 2016 overseeing a draw between Samoa and Japan.

A three-time recipient of the New Zealand referee of the year award, O’Keeffe was selected to take charge of the second British and Irish Lions test in South Africa in 2021, before making the 12-strong list of referees for this year’s World Cup.

A qualified ophthalmologist, O’Keeffe’s brother Michael represented New Zealand at the London Olympics and is now a sports reporter.

He has been appointed as the referee for three pool games at the World Cup.

Which games is Ben O’Keeffe refereeing at the 2023 Rugby World Cup?

France v Uruguay – Pool A (14 September, Lille)

Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (NZ)

ARs: Paul Williams (NZ) & James Doleman (NZ)

TMO: Ben Whitehouse (Wal)

South Africa v Ireland – Pool B (23 September, Paris)

Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (NZ)

ARs: Mathieu Raynal (Fra) & James Doleman (NZ)

TMO: Brendon Pickerill (NZ)

Japan v Argentina – Pool D (8 October, Nantes)

Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (NZ)

ARs: Paul Williams (NZ) & James Doleman (NZ)

TMO: Brendon Pickerill (NZ)



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