Referee appointments – Autumn internationals, Aviva Premiership, Anglo Welsh Cup

Karl Dickson RFU 2017

As we head into the second weekend of the autumn international series, the eye-catching refereeing appointment isn’t among those top-tier games. It actually falls to one of the big English Premiership matches. The Gloucester v Saracens match is always a fun encounter, never mind if it’s your Premiership refereeing debut. And never mind if you played against many of the players just a matter of months ago. But that is where the RFUs’ newest professional referee, Karl Dickson find himself on Friday night (UK time), with the added pressure of being a live TV game too.  The former Harlequin scrum-half has made rapid progress and his career trajectory tracks closely that of New Zealand’s Glen Jackson, who this week finds himself in Florence, assisting Jaco Peyper in the Italy v Argentina encounter.

In Paris, Nigel Owens oversees the France v South Africa match which after this week’s World Rugby Council decision to award the 2023 Rugby World Cup to France, rather than the World Rugby Board’s recommended South Africa, could add a little edge to proceedings….

After Sonny Bill William’s law blip last week we’re wondering if Matt Carley may present him with a 2017 Law Book before the Kiwi’s take on Scotland in Edinburgh on Saturday teatime.

Wherever you are this weekend, enjoy your rugby! If you’re on the pitch, whistle well!

Autumn Internationals

England v Australia
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
ARs: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa) & George Clancy (Ireland)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)

France v South Africa
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
ARs: Wayne Barnes (England) & Tom Foley (England)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)

Italy v Argentina  (in Florence)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
ARs: Glen Jackson (New Zealand) & Pierre Brousset (France)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)

Scotland v New Zealand
Referee: Matthew Carley (England)
ARs: Romain Poite (France) & Ian Davies (Wales)
TMO: David Grashoff (England)

Wales v Georgia
Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
ARs: Shuhei Kubo (Japan) & Sean Gallagher (Ireland)
TMO: Leo Colgan (Ireland)

Japan v Tonga (in Toulouse, France)
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
ARs: Pascal Gaüzère (France) & Craig Evans (Wales)
TMO: Jon Mason (Wales)

Romania v Samoa
Referee: Mike Adamson (Scotland)
ARs: Dan Jones (WRU) & Shota Tevzadze (Georgia)
TMO: Neil Paterson (Scotland)

Ireland v Fiji
Referee: Paul Williams (New Zealand)
ARs: Angus Gardner (Australia) & Alex Ruiz (France)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)

Germany v USA (Wiesbaden, Germany)
Referee: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
ARs: Ben Whitehouse (Wales) & Vlad Iordachescu (Romania)

Spain v Canada
Referee: Ian Tempest (England)
ARs: Frank Murphy (Ireland) & Joy Neville (Ireland)

Namibia v Uruguay
Referee: Egon Seconds (South Africa)
ARs: Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa) & Cwengile Jadezweni (South Africa)

Belgium v Brazil 
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys (England)
ARs: Jamie Leahy & Lionel Spooner (England)


England v Canada
Referee: Alhambra Nievas (Spain)
ARs: Tim Baker (Hong Kong) & Aimee Barrett-Theron (South Africa)

Italy v France
Referee: Sara Cox (England)

Anglo-Welsh Cup

Cardiff Blues v Ospreys
Referee: Adam Leal (England)
ARs: Jason Bessant (Wales) & Tom Spurrier (Wales)

Dragons v Scarlets
Referee: Adam Jones (Wales)
ARs: Robert Price (Wales) & Richard Deacy (Wales)

Aviva Premiership

Gloucester v Saracens
Referee: Karl Dickson
ARs: Peter Allan & Jack Makepeace
TMO: David Rose

Worcester Warriors v Northampton Saints
Referee: Andrew Jackson
ARs: Paul Burton & Philip Watters
TMO: David Sainsbury

Wasps v Newcastle Falcons
Referee: Matthew O’Grady
ARs: Anthony Woodthorpe & Dean Richards
TMO: Trevor Fisher

Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks
Referee: Luke Pearce
ARs: Hamish Smales & Nigel Carrick
TMO: Sean Davey

Exeter Chiefs v Harlequins
Referee: JP Doyle
ARs: Adam Leal & Jonathan Healy
TMO: Stuart Terheege

London Irish v BathReferee: Tom Foley
ARs: Paul Dix & Wayne Falla
TMO: Keith Lewis


  1. Another November series; another set of highly contestable decisions by the refereeing team in both the Wallabies (V England) and All Blacks (V Scotland) test matches. A whole series of decisions seem, year on year, to run against the Southern Hemisphere sides (crowd pressure or something more deeply psychological?) It is of concern that there is an increasing cynicism amongst SH journalists (when talking to ex internationals like myself) and the SH test side coaches themselves not only about “infringements” claimed to have been committed by the SH sides but about what is let go, without censure, in respect of the NH sides. The Australia V England game yesterday is an appalling example. The penalties, disallowed tries (see Stephen Moore’s “infringement” at the time of the Wallaby “try”) and send-offs (Michael Hooper’s send-off was a classic – no prior warning to the team – that I could see – and no clear infringement); Kurtley Beale (in his send-off) did not have his hands facing downward and it was clearly “on” for him to score if he could catch that ball. The least one can say is that it was not “gamesmanship”; it was not cynical). Michael Cheika’s justifiable fury aside, it should be of great concern to your organisation win the face of Steve Hanson’s (NZ) heavy statement that your refereeing consistency is lacking (an understatement bred of Hanson’s sensitive position). To top it off, how can you engender respect for the touch judge referees when they utterly fail to police the advantage line? Players in defence and on kick-offs are patently off-side on any number of occasions throughout the game; rarely is there a whistle to be heard. And Australia still has Scotland to go next Saturday – against the background of the extraordinary decision of the RWC referees panel to submit one unique decision to a committee of inquiry – that of Craig Joubert in respect of the Australia V Scotland RWC game. How can such an appalling example of craven pandering to certain national forces (Northern hemisphere forces apparently) be justified? I was the author of the letter published in the Times (signed by ARU ex Presidents and Wallaby Captains amongst others) on this issue and it still amazes us that World Rugby and the referees panel (?) could not perceive that this was a denial of Natural Justice of the first order. It is well past time for you to have the courage for some self examination but is unlikely that this will happen – or even that I will receive a genuinely thoughtful and perceptive reply to this email. Those borderline or probably incorrect decisions in the Aust. England game come on the back of a huge financial and “political” crisis in Australian rugby which is struggling under a heavy financial burden and and the dominance in Aust of Rugby League and Australian Rules. When your borderline – really borderline – decisions change the course of a game in the way that they did to day you should hardly be surprised at the level of our bitterness and alarm.

    • As ever we welcome the fact that you’ve chosen our humble site to offload your views onto.

      In all your anti-refereeing comments suggesting a NH bias against you, you have somewhat conveniently overlooked the fact that in both Australia’s matches so far, and their warm-up match in Japan have all been refereed by southern hemisphere referees (Briant, Jackson and O’Keeffe, all with other SH officials in the Team of 4) which sort of undermines your point.

      It also overlooks the Kieran Read’s match-saving slap off the floor was missed in Scotland. And a potential tackle in the air against Naholo which ended up being a penalty only rather than anything higher after TMO review.

      I’m sure you haven’t read Jonathan Kaplan’s (a southern hemisphere neutral in this case – and with some authority in this sapce) views on the Eng v Aus decisions. Re Stephen Moore – I thought initially it was a soft decision, but as Kaplan argues, Moore was in front of the ball carrier and it stopped Robshaw making the tackle he would have chosen to do so. Hooper’s decision – doesn’t need a warning but if you’d heard what O’Keeffe (and the S African AR who helped with the backfoot offside calls in the passage of play) said, there’d been 2 advantage pens during the phase of play and 3 others around that.

      Beale – you’ve answered you own point but have you actually watched the clip? He stuck his hand out, which was pointing with his fingers down towards the floor. He didn’t catch it, it wasnt a realistic chance of gathering, so it was a deliberate knock-on which he had no chance to gather and stopped a dynamic England attack. One of the clearest YCs weve seen for a while.

      Back foot offside – without freezeframing every ruck from the wide angle (which TV doesn’t show all the time) I’ll leave that to your selective bias in your views. If you want to see an offside every time, then you will. The officials on the park have to judge if there is something to be offside from, and then whether the ball is out. As mentioned above, not only did the ARs contribute to offside, but it also led to the Aus 7 being sinbinned.

      Michael Cheika said after the game that in Australia, he’s trying (with the ARU) to generate a “no excuses” culture. In your letter to the Times during the RWC 2015, you and your esteemed comrades wrote: “World Rugby has failed to back the letter and the spirit of the rule declaring that the referee is the sole judge of the game.” We’d encourage you to heed your own advice.

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