2 July 2015
South Africa’s Jaco Peyper will have the honour of refereeing the opening match at Rugby World Cup (RWC) 2015 in England as the hosts take on Fiji at Twickenham to kick off 44 days of unmissable action, World Rugby announced on 1 July.
The six-week tournament takes place from 18 September to 31 October and will be hosted in 10 English cities and in Cardiff, Wales.
Peyper, who is 35 years old and has refereed 20 internationals to date, will handle the RWC opener on Friday, 18 September in London. He will be joined by assistant referees John Lacey of Ireland and Stuart Berry, also of South African. Another South African, Shaun Veldsman, will act as television match official (TMO).
Peyper and compatriot Craig Joubert will both handle four matches during the pool stage. Berry was also handed four fixtures as assistant referee while Veldsman will adjudicate 10 matches as TMO.
Joubert’s first match in charge of the whistle is the clash between France and Italy on 19 September at Twickenham, a fixture where his countrymen, Berry and Veldsman, will also be on duty.
Meanwhile, the confirmed match official appointment list also revealed the referees for the Springboks’ four group ties.
The Boks kick off their RWC challenge on 19 September against Japan at the Brighton Community Stadium, with Frenchman Jerome Garces the man in charge of match proceedings.
The match referees for the other three South African pool matches are:
- Saturday, 26 September: Springboks vs Samoa, Villa Park, Birmingham (Wayne Barnes, England);
- Saturday, 3 October: Springboks vs Scotland, St James’ Park, Newcastle (Nigel Owens, Wales);
- Wednesday, 7 October: Springboks vs USA, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London (Pascal Gauzere, France).
John Jeffrey, the chairman of the World Rugby Match Officials Selection Committee, said: “Rugby World Cup is the biggest stage of all in our game so for these match officials to have been selected in the first place is a great honour and a recognition of their talent, their hard work and their commitment. As such, they can all be very proud of their achievements and I wish them all every success during the tournament.”
The appointments for the knock-out stages will be made after the pool stage.