World Rugby confirm referees to take charge of Lions tour Tests

World Rugby have listed the officials who will take control of the Lions tour matches this summer, with Australian referee Nic Berry in charge of the first Test.

The tour schedule kicks off on home soil for the Lions at Murrayfield on June 26 against Japan, to be refereed by French official Pascal Gauzere.

Five matches against provincial South African teams will take place up to the first Test on July 24.

Berry will take the reins and is the referee who sent off Ireland centre Bundee Aki in the 2019 Rugby World Cup in the pool stages against Samoa.

Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand) and Mathieu Raynal (France) will take charge of the second and third Tests. Each official will also performing assistant referee duties during the cycle as well.

As for the TMO, Brendon Pickerill of New Zealand will hold the role for all three Test matches in South Africa.

Talking of the appointments, chairman of the World Rugby Match Officials Selection Committee, Graham Mourie said: “The British & Irish Lions Tests against South Africa and Japan are a natural focus for rugby fans – and congratulations to Pascal, Nic, Ben and Mathieu on their appointments – but I would also like to extend my congratulations to everyone selected. I am sure they will do their nations proud.”

World Rugby Head of Match Officials Joël Jutge added: “With just over two years to go until Rugby World Cup 2023 and elite and international rugby returning around the world, the July internationals provide an important opportunity to build momentum, further develop our culture across the team of officials and focus on consistency of decision-making.

“I have been pleased by how the team of match officials have responded to the challenge of the pandemic despite several not being able to perform on the international stage. We have developed a strong bond and culture and we are ready for what will be a very busy July and August.”

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