Matthew Carley will be the referee for the France – Namibia match. The 38-year-old Englishman has already refereed the French XV, notably during a sad record, he also found himself at the heart of a controversy at the start of the World Cup.
Thursday evening, at the Vélodrome stadium in Marseille against Namibia, the French XV will find a referee they know. Matthew Carley who, like many Blues, is discovering the World Cup and is nevertheless well known to the general public. He, who has officiated in the Champions Cup since 2015 and in the 6 Nations Tournament since 2017, has made a name for himself for a long time. For example, he refereed the round of 16 second leg between Stade Toulouse and Ulster during the 2022 season.
Despite his experience at the highest level, the English referee found himself at the heart of a controversy at the start of the competition. He was the one who held the whistle during Wales’ 32-26 victory over Fiji. For many, the latter had favored the Welsh by not giving any yellow cards despite the repeated faults of the Welsh who were defending on their line. The Fijian Lekima Vuda Tagitagivalu received a card much more quickly.
The sad record of the Blues
It is this same Matthew Carley who officiated during the victory of the XV of France 29 to 24 in Italy. A good memory for the French then? Not necessarily, Fabien Galthié’s men had been penalized 18 times, a sad record. If he had been strongly criticized after the match, in reality he was only following new directives from World Rugby, which wanted teams to be exemplary on defensive rucks.
Let’s hope for a similar result for the Blues, with a little more flamboyance if possible.