Andrea Piardi will become the first Italian match official to referee a Vodacom United Rugby Championship grand final after his appointment to this weekend’s decider between DHL Stormers and Munster in Cape Town.
The 30-year-old, who will be part of the match officials team for the upcoming Rugby World Cup in France, made his league debut in February 2019 taking charge of Munster v Southern Kings and has gone on to make 35 appearances and seven in EPCR competitions.
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Piardi has enjoyed high-profile appointments over the past two seasons in the playoffs where he refereed two knockout games in 2022 and most recently the Glasgow Warriors vs Munster quarter-final earlier this month.
Piardi’s match officials team will consist of Scotland’s Mike Adamson and Craig Evans from Wales as the assistant referees. Ben Whitehouse (Wales), who has been selected for the World Cup, will serve as Television Match Official.
The team will have the combined experience of 244 league games.
Speaking about the selections, Tappe Henning, URC head of match officials, said: “It is the biggest day of the season for the teams and the same is true for our referees. We have a very competitive group of senior officials, so the independent selection panel has had a lot to consider.
“In the URC we have to balance neutrality and performance and Andrea fits nicely into those categories. We have seen strong displays from him this season backed up by confident decision-making and clear communication. I would like to congratulate Andrea on this important selection and I look forward to seeing him in action in Cape Town.”
SATURDAY, MAY 27
DHL Stormers v Munster
DHL Stadium, Cape Town – KO 17.30 IRE & UK / 18.30 ITA & SA
Referee: Andrea Piardi (FIR, 36th league game)
AR 1: Mike Adamson (SRU) AR 2: Craig Evans (WRU)
TMO: Ben Whitehouse (WRU)
Photo: Billy Stickland/INPHO/Shutterstock/BackpagePix