Watch: South African referees arrive in France

TMO Marius Jonker and referee Jaco Peyper touch down at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport ahead of the opening match.

The 2023 Rugby World Cup kicks off on September 8 with France versus New Zealand at Stade de France.

The man in the middle for the auspicious occasion is Jaco Peyper from the Free State.

This will be the second time the South African referees the opening match of the showpiece tournament, having previously done so at the 2015 event in England when the hosts played Fiji.

For the opening match, Peyper will be assisted by English assistant referees Karl Dickson and Christophe Ridley, while another Englishman – Tom Foley – is the television match official (TMO).

World Rugby’s website states Peyper will use a special whistle to referee this match. “[The] whistle [will be] presented by adventurer Ron Rutland who is cycling 21 000km from Auckland to Paris to deliver the whistle and raise money for ChildFund Rugby,” it says.

Peyper’s travel companion, Jonker will first be on duty the next day when England take on Argentina at Stade de Marseille – somewhat 790km away from where the opening match is played.

He will be the TMO for the refereeing team of Mathieu Raynal (France), Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand), and Pierre Brousset (France).

Watch as the South Africans arrive:


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