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Dublin: 10 °C Wednesday 23 October, 2019
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Kiwi refs appointed to Ireland's opening November Tests

Meanwhile, Frank Murphy will run the line for Wales’ biggest games next month.

O'Keefe brandishes a yellow at JP Pietersen in Super Rugby in 2016.
O'Keefe brandishes a yellow at JP Pietersen in Super Rugby in 2016.
Image: Photosport/Dianne Manson/INPHO

NEW ZEALAND’S BEN O’Keefe will referee Ireland’s opening November Test against South Africa on 11 November.

The 28-year-old has limited international experience, but has risen fast in the eyes of World Rugby. Having first taken charge of a Test in the summer of 2016, he presided over his first all Tier one match last November as Scotland defeated Argentina.

The Kiwi will have ample experience to call upon from the sidelines where Wayne Barnes and Ian Davies will operate as his assistants.

A week later, another young Kiwi will take charge of Ireland’s meeting with Fiji. Paul Williams will take charge with Angus Gardner and Alexandre Ruiz assisting.

Ireland’s final November international will put the much more familiar face of Mathieu Raynal in the middle of the Aviva Stadium. The Frenchman’s assistants for Ireland’s clash with Argentina will be Marius Mitrea and Mike Adamson.

Referee Frank Murphy in action 16/9/2017 Frank Murphy during Glasgow's visit to Cardiff last month. Source: CameraSport/Ashley Crowden/INPHO

Irish officials will take hold of the Barbarians’ match against Tonga in Thomond Park on 10 November with former Munster, Leicester and Connacht scrum-half Frank Murphy assisted by Sean Gallagher and Joy Neville.

Neville and Murphy will also run the line for Spain v Canada in Madrid with George Clancy joining the former international back row for France v Japan.

Murphy arguably has the highest profile role of Irish officials next month as he will also act as assistant referee for Wales’ clash against both the All Blacks and the Springboks.

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Sean Farrell

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