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Dublin: 10°C Sunday 9 May 2021
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Frenchman Pascal Gaüzère to referee Leinster v Munster derby

The LNR match official has not been afraid to flash the cards this season.

Pascal Gaüzère will referee what is sure to be an aggressively-contested inter-pro.
Pascal Gaüzère will referee what is sure to be an aggressively-contested inter-pro.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

FRENCH REFEREE PASCAL Gaüzère will be the man in the middle when Leinster and Munster clash at the Aviva Stadium in the RaboDirect Pro12 on Saturday.

The inter-provincial clash will be the fifth time Gaüzère has refereed in the Pro12, with the majority of his experience as a match official having come in the Top 14, Heineken Cup and Six Nations. The 36-year-old is on the IRB’s panel of international referees, so both sides will expect a high standard of adjudication.

Matt O’Connor and Rob Penney are likely to warn their players to focus on maintaining their discipline even more than usual, with Gaüzère having shown an inclination to reach for his yellow card while in action in the Top 14 this season.

The Landes native has sin binned 23 players in his 13 league games during this campaign, with two of those cards coming in his most recent fixture, a 22-16 win for Clermont at home to Toulon.

Munster will be particularly wary of infringing around the breakdown and set-piece, with 17 of Gaüzère’s yellow cards this season having been brandished at players on the away team.

  • Top 14 games: 13
  • Yellow cards: 23
  • Yellows for away teams: 17

Clearly the Top 14 is a less disciplined league than the Pro12 in general, but the warning signs are there for Leinster and Munster.

There have been some issues with the refereeing quality in the Pro12 at times this season, but the current problems in Super Rugby – where two match officials have been stood down after poor displays last weekend – shows that the debate is not restricted to Europe.

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Running the touchline for this weekend’s game will be the IRFU’s David Wilkinson and Michael Black, who are both products of Ulster’s refereeing system. Simon McDowell will act as the television match official for the biggest Pro12 fixture of the season so far.

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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