England's Rugby World Cup semi-final to feature controversial referee

England’s Rugby World Cup semi-final against South Africa will be officiated by referee who ‘made several crucial errors’ in the Springboks’ tense win over hosts France

  • Ben O’Keeffe will take charge of England’s clash with South Africa on Saturday
  • The New Zealand-born official reportedly made several errors last weekend
  • O’Keeffe was in charge for South Africa’s narrow victory against France 
  • Latest Rugby World Cup 2023 news, including fixtures, live scores and results

The referee for England’s Rugby World Cup semi-final clash against South Africa, Ben O’Keeffe, was responsible for making multiple mistakes in last weekend’s victory for the Springboks over France, according to reports.

O’Keeffe will be the man in the middle on Saturday evening when Steve Borthwick’s England attempt to rise to their underdog status against the reigning world champions in Paris.

However, the Red Roses will be hoping the match official doesn’t make the same costly errors he did last time out after it was revealed the 34-year-old was acknowledged to have made several errors in South Africa’s clash with the tournament hosts.

A report published by Midi Olympique, highlights O’Keeffe and his team of match officials made five key mistakes in the knockout encounter.

The most glaring error was allowing Cheslin Kolbe’s charge-down of Thomas Ramos’ conversion to stand, despite it later emerging the South African’s effort should have been ruled out as an illegal move.

Ben O’Keeffe will be the man in the middle between South Africa and England on Saturday

O’Keeffe reportedly made several key errors in France’s quarter-final defeat against the Boks

South Africa went on to win the high-octane match by a single point, with the failed conversion a key talking point after the match as France crashed out.

The World Rugby governing body reportedly noted a further four mistakes has been made by the New Zealand-born referee that impacted the final outcome of the match.

It’s stated France should have been awarded a penalty after Springboks flanker, Kwagga Smith attempted to overturn possession, while disciplinary action should also have been taken against Pieter-Steph Du Toit.

Cheslin Kolbe (right) charged down Thomas Ramos’ (left) conversion but it was later reported the block should have been ruled as illegal

England will be hoping for an improved standard of refereeing against the Springboks on Saturday

The South African escaped without a yellow card when he performed a dangerous clean-out at a ruck.

However, France also got the rub of the green on some questionable decisions as it was later reported Damian Penaud should have been sent to the sin bin within the opening 10 minutes, while Cameron Woki was also similarly lucky for ill discipline.

England will be hoping a contentious refereeing decision would be the last thing that will let them down as they bid to pull of a shock result against the Springboks.

South Africa are vying to reach a second consecutive World Cup final and come up against an England side who have enjoyed a relatively easy run to this stage of the competition.

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