Poite and O’Keeffe to be whistle-blowers for Springbok Tests
The Springboks will again have to deal with French official Romain Poite in a crucial match after he was named as the ref-eree for their second Test against England in June.
The three-match series‚ which starts on June 9 at Ellis Park‚ is the most anticipated in this country in many years.
Poite‚ who has had his run-ins with the Boks‚ will handle the second Test in Bloemfontein where the series could be won and lost. The 42-year-old infamously yellow-carded Bok hooker Bismarck du Plessis against the All Blacks in Auckland in 2013 for what was a legal tackle on flyhalf Dan Carter.
That mistake had serious ramifications as Du Plessis was given a second yellow card‚ which meant an automatic red card. In all, he was erroneously off the field for 50 minutes.
Poite’s errors caused a huge outcry at the time and World Rugby‚ the game’s governing body, issued a statement confirming the error. It was little consolation for the Boks as they lost 29-15.
New Zealand Ben O’Keeffe will have the whistle for the first Test at Ellis Park. He has also had his run-ins with the Boks‚ most recently in Bloemfontein in 2017 when SA and Australia drew. He failed to issue a card against Wallaby fullback Israel Folau‚ who pulled Bok wing Dillyn Leyds by the hair. In three Tests under O’Keefe the Boks won one‚ lost one and drew one.
Former Chiefs flyhalf Glen Jackson will handle the third Test at Newlands. Jackson is increasingly seen as the world’s leading referee. He has stood in six Boks matches, of which they won five and lost one.
England’s Matthew Carley will handle the Springboks’ one-off Test against Wales in Washington DC, in the US, on June 2.