Opinion

Ben O’Keefe, Man In Control

The man who controlled the Chiefs and Crusaders Super Rugby clash in Suva, this year is going to be the referee in the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians opening match at today’s Rugby World Cup in Sapporo, Japan.
21 Sep 2019 13:14
Ben O’Keefe, Man In Control
Ben O’Keefe.

The man who controlled the Chiefs and Crusaders Super Rugby clash in Suva, this year is going to be the referee in the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians opening match at today’s Rugby World Cup in Sapporo, Japan.

Ben O’Keefe, the 2017 New Zealand Rugby Referee of the Year, has refereed games from club rugby to international matches such as England against South Africa in Johannesburg and now the World Cup.

O’Keefe is also a qualified doctor specialising in ophthalmology, which deals with eye health and disease.

This is going to be O’Keeffe’s first Rugby World Cup match.

QUOTE: “A lot of people, you know, they have their opinions about the way referees can see and I’m pretty qualified actually as well to tell those people how their vision is.”

MEMORABLE MOMENT: “The game between the Chiefs and Crusaders in Suva stood out. The Chiefs scored some sensational tries on their way to a 40-27 win, storming back from a 20-0 deficit in the first half.”

FLYING FIJIANS: O’Keefe controlled the Pasifika clash against Tonga at Eden Park, Auckland on August 31. The Dominiko Waqaniburotu-captain side must watch their discipline against the Australians.

In the match against Tonga, he time and again penalised the Fijians for infringements in the set pieces, scrums and high tackles.

He even had to dish the yellow card to Peceli Yato who will be at flanker this afternoon.

Getting a high penalty count and issuing of cards could go against us if we are not careful.

AUSTRALIA: O’Keefe has had his fair share of problems with the Wallabies.

The 2017 Test clash against England where he came under a lot of criticism from head coach Michael Cheika, over the decisions made.

Sadly, after three days of deliberation the World Rugby disciplinary officials failed to back up the referee and Cheika had a lucky escape for his appalling behaviour after offering an apology.

Also, O’Keefe had to stand his ground after Wallabies captain Michael Hooper and Kurtley Beale chose to ignore his warnings but him dishing out the yellow cards made them come to their senses.

So, happy refereeing!

Edited by Osea Bola

Feedback: leonec@fijisun.com.fj

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