O’Keeffe will blow the whistle again in Bok battle


Ben O’Keeffe will handle the whistle-blowing duties in the World Cup semi-final between South Africa and England at the Stade de France.

The 34-year-old New Zealander also enforced law and order in Paris this past weekend when the Springboks beat France 29-28 at the very stadium.

He will now be assisted on the field by Andrew Brace and Paul Williams, while Brendon Pickerill is the television official for the semi-final clash.

It will be the second time in his career that O’Keeffe is in charge of a match between South Africa and England.

The Boks won the previous matchup 42 – 39 at Ellis Park.

Although Antoine Dupont was dissatisfied with O’Keeffe’s handling of the just-completed quarter-final, Siya Kolisi was ready with a compliment after the titanic battle.

“We will analyze the game again, but the discussions with him and his decisions were fair. I will not discredit a referee,” said the Springbok captain.

Rassie Erasmus also thanked the Kiwi blaster on social media after South Africa’s group stage showdown against Ireland.

“It was good to be part of an intense and physical game where the referee was not too involved. Well done, Ben and your team,” shared Erasmus on X (formerly Twitter).

Peyper not part of action

According to World Rugby, Jaco Peyper was not considered for the semi-finals because the South African referee suffered a calf injury in the quarter-final between Wales and Argentina.

“I want to pay tribute to Jaco Peyper who is not part of the action due to an injury. He would certainly have been considered for the matches and we wish him a speedy recovery,” said Joël Jutge, World Rugby’s manager of high performance referees.

  • Referees for the semi-finals:

New Zealand vs Argentina: Angus Gardner (referee), Nic Berry (assistant referee), Karl Dickson (assistant referee) and Ben Whitehouse (television official).

South Africa vs England: Ben O’Keeffe (referee), Andrew Brace (assistant referee), Paul Williams (assistant referee) and Brendon Pickerill (television official).