27 Jul 2018

Gardner to referee Super Rugby final

1:53 pm on 27 July 2018

Australian Angus Gardner will referee next weekend's Super Rugby final, the southern hemisphere rugby's governing body Sanzaar said on Friday.

Super Rugby referee Angus Gardner

Super Rugby referee Angus Gardner Photo: Photosport

While the Sydney-based New South Wales Waratahs could advance to the final, Gardner's selection had been on merit, the organisation said.

"The selection of the match referees for the finals series have been merit-based and have included input from the team head coaches," Sanzaar said in a statement.

It's Gardner's maiden Super Rugby final appointment and is reward for his high quality performances throughout the season, the statement said.

The eight-time champion Crusaders team face the Hurricanes in an all-New Zealand semi-final in Christchurch on Saturday before South Africa's Lions host the Waratahs in Johannesburg.

While traditionally rugby has used neutral referees for tests and other high level matches, Super Rugby's finals over the previous two years have involved officials from the same country as one of the participating teams.

New Zealand's Glen Jackson referred the 2016 final between the Hurricanes and Lions, while South Africa's Jaco Peyper refereed last year's final between the Lions and Crusaders in Johannesburg.

Peyper will referee the Crusaders-Hurricanes semi-final, while Jackson takes charge of the Lions-Waratahs game.