World Rugby has this evening confirmed the appointment of eight Australian officials to the upcoming July International Test-matches.
Australians will take charge of five of the matches, making up a quarter of the appointed officials.
The appointment process has considered likely ongoing travel and quarantine restrictions and the importance of competition integrity, with neutral officials and ‘bubble’ requirements.
Damon Murphy, Nic Berry and Angus Gardner will take charge of five matches between them, while Graham Cooper, Jordan Way, Reuben Keane and Amy Perrett will act as assistant referees.
Perrett’s appointment also marks the first time that an Australian Female match official has been appointed to a men’s International Test.
Following consistent performances at a provincial level, in both Harvey Norman Super Rugby AU and Trans-Tasman, Berry will carry the whistle in the opening British & Irish Lions match in Cape Town on July 24.
Berry will also take charge of Samoa v Maori All Blacks on June 26, flanked by Amy Perrett and Graham Cooper, while Jordan Way will also act as an assistant for the later fixtures.
Damon Murphy will hold the whistle for New Zealand’s opening pan-Pacific clash against Tonga at Eden Park before Nic Berry and Angus Gardner control New Zealand v Fiji in Dunedin and Hamilton respectively.
Rugby Australia’s National Referee Manager, Scott Young, said: “It’s fantastic to see so many of our officials appointed to Test matches.
“Nic Berry’s appointment to the first British and Irish Lions test match is a fantastic achievement. These matches only come around every 12 years and other than a World Cup, are considered the pinnacle of a referee’s career.
“Our Head Coach, Mitch Chapman has worked hard with the team and the results are driven by his holistic approach to coaching while Nic’s incredible work ethic on and off the field is testament to his appointment.
“We are continuing to build depth in our referee team, and the officiating space is looking excellent for the future,” Young added.
World Rugby Head of Match Officials Joel Jutge added: “With just over two years to go until Rugby World Cup 2023 and with elite and international Rugby returning around the world, the July internationals provide an important opportunity to build momentum, further develop our culture across the team of officials and focus on consistency of decision-making.
“I have been pleased by how the team of match officials have responded to the challenge of the pandemic despite several not being able to perform on the international stage. We have developed a strong bond and culture, and we are ready for what will be a very busy July and August.”
Following the XVs season, Damon Murphy, Jordan Way and Amy Perrett will join Madeline Putz and Tyler Miller in Tokyo ahead of their appointments to the Olympics in July.
James Leckie has also been appointed TMO for the New Zealand pan-Pacific series against Tonga and Fiji.
A list of the full appointments can be found here.