Historic: Argentine Damián Schneider to referee World Rugby Under 20 Final


In a historic appointment for the sport of rugby an Argentine will referee a major final for the first time. Damián Schneider will officiate France vs Ireland, the final of the 2023 World Rugby Under 20 Championship.

The final will be played on Friday, July 14 at the Athlone Sports Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa. Argentina will take on Fiji earlier on in the day. The winner of Los Pumitas vs Fiji will finish the World Rugby Under 20 tournament in 9th position and the loser in 10th.

Schneider’s appointment comes following heavy involvement in South American activity. He was busy in the Super Liga Americana de Rugby (SLAR) and its rebranded competition, Super Rugby Americas. He officiated the recent Super Rugby Americas 2023 Final.

Damián Schneider officiated in a bilingual capacity. In matches involving the American Raptors, Schneider refereed the U.S. team in English and the South American team in Spanish. He has also refereed Major League Rugby (MLR) matches previously entirely in English.

His experience has seen him officiating test matches over an extended period of time. He was a referee at the 2016 Nations Cup in Romania, has been a regular referee in the Sevens World Series and has refereed many test matches in South America and the defunct Americas Rugby Championship (ARC).

Schneider has not refereed Tier 1 matches. Int fact, no Argentine has ever officiated a Rugby Championship match nor any Tier 1 vs Tier 1 fixture in the full three cycles since Argentina debuted in the Rugby Championship in 2012.

No Argentines will referee matches at Rugby World Cup 2023. None were appointed matches at Rugby World Cups 2007, 2011, 2015 or 2019. The last time an Argentine held the whistle at a Rugby World Cup was at RWC 2003. In short, the wait will be at least 24 years until this happens again.

The Americas have professional rugby in both South America and in North America. World Rugby has not utilized officials to referee Tier 1 matches and none have been selected on the panel for Rugby World Cup 2023. There will be three South American countries at Rugby World Cup 2023 but no Spanish Speaking referees.

While none of the referees are Spanish-speakers, four of the twelve are from one country. The nationalities attributed to the officials is limited to the former Tri Nations and Five Nations.

Argentina, Chile and Uruguay will all compete at the World Cup with history being made in Nantes, France when Argentina face Chile in a pool match. It is to be the first ever meeting between two South American teams at the Rugby World Cup. The Argentina XV vs Chile is an annual contest. It is always refereed in Spanish. At the World Cup it will be refereed in English because World Rugby have appointed no Spanish-Speakers on their panel.

Damián Schneider (AR), Nehuén Jauri Rivero (AR) and Tomás Bertazza (AR) are examples of referees who could officiate matches such as Uruguay vs Namibia, Uruguay vs Italy or Chile vs Samoa. They could do so with calls in Spanish for Uruguay or Chile and in English for the other side. Francisco González (UY) is an example of a referee who could officiate Argentina vs Chile in Spanish.

Historic: Argentine Damián Schneider to referee World Rugby Under 20 Final .

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