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Aussie ref pulls out of SA v Ireland series

NEWS: Australian official Angus Gardner has withdrawn from refereeing duties during the South Africa versus Ireland series for ‘personal reasons’.

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He will be replaced by England’s Luke Pearce as match day referee for the first Test at Loftus Versfeld on July 6 and as assistant referee for the second Test at Kings Park the following weekend.

A World Rugby statement on the matter reads: “World Rugby has confirmed that Angus Gardner [Australia] has withdrawn from officiating duties for the two-test series between South Africa and Ireland for personal reasons.

“The Australian will be replaced by Luke Pearce [England] as referee for the first test and also as assistant referee for the second test.

“As a consequence of the change, there are also further amendments to the appointments, including Christophe Ridley [England], replacing Pearce as assistant referee for Japan versus Georgia on July 13.”

Gardner began officiating in Super Rugby in 2012.

He made his Test debut in 2011, officiating a match between Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu.

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Gardner has since refereed numerous international matches, including fixtures in the Rugby Championship and Six Nations.

He was named World Rugby Referee of the Year in 2018 and has officiated at three World Cups – 2015, 2019 and 2023.

Match official for SA v Ireland

Saturday, July 6
Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant referees: Karl Dickson (England), Mike Adamson (Scotland)
TMO: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)

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Saturday, July 13
Kings Park, Durban
Referee: Karl Dickson (England)
Assistant referees: Luke Pearce (England), Craig Evans (Wales)
TMO: Ian Tempest (England)

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