Lucky charm refs for Li­ons-All Blacks Tests

New Straits Times - - Sport -

WELLING­TON: The Bri­tish and Ir­ish Li­ons Tests against the All Blacks will be ref­er­eed by two French­man and a South African.

The ap­point­ments by World Rugby on Thurs­day are ex­pected to be well re­ceived by both teams.

The All Blacks have played 25 Tests un­der Jaco Peyper of South Africa, Ro­main Poite and Jerome Garces, win­ning 24 and draw­ing one. The Li­ons are likely to wel­come the ap­point­ment of two north­ern hemi­sphere refs.

Poite, who will con­trol the third Test in Auck­land on July 8, also con­trolled the third and de­cid­ing Test be­tween the Li­ons and Wal­la­bies in Syd­ney in 2013, when the Li­ons clinched their first se­ries in 16 years. Two Tests in the 2013 se­ries were con­trolled by south­ern hemi­sphere refs.

Garces, who will con­trol the sec­ond Test on July 1 in Welling­ton, con­trolled two of Eng­land’s matches in the Six Na­tions, while Peyper, who has the first Test on June 24 in Auck­land, most re­cently ref­er­eed the All Blacks in their win over Ire­land in Dublin in Novem­ber.

He was crit­i­cised af­ter that match for be­ing too le­nient on the All Blacks’ ag­gres­sive tack­ling, though he has sin-binned five New Zealand play­ers in his last three Tests in charge of the All Blacks.

Peyper has ref­er­eed the All Blacks in 11 Tests of which they have won 10 and drawn one. They have won all eight matches they have played un­der Garces and all six con­trolled by Poite.

Poite, Garces, and Peyper will also con­trol one of the Li­ons’ seven non-Test matches in New Zealand against Su­per Rugby teams, the New Zealand Maori or a pro­vin­cial selec­tion. Those matches will all be con­trolled by ref­er­ees from World Rugby’s test panel.

Mean­while, New Zealand Rugby are work­ing to ar­range a warm-up for the All Blacks. Chief ex­ec­u­tive Steve Tew said it had not yet been de­cided whether the All Blacks will play a Test side or a com­pos­ite team such as a Pa­cific Is­lands com­bi­na­tion.

“We know they’ll al­ways have some form of hit-out at some stage when we get into th­ese short lead-ups,” Tew said. “We’re still giv­ing it a lit­tle thought and the coaches have re­flected on that over the past few weeks.”

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