May 29, 2017 / 10:43 AM / 3 months ago

Factbox - Referees for the British and Irish Lions test series

(Reuters) - Factbox on the referees for the three-test series between the British and Irish Lions and New Zealand, which starts next month:

JACO PEYPER (SOUTH AFRICA), FIRST TEST

Like many referees, the 37-year-old lawyer from Bloemfontein took up the whistle when injuries curtailed his career as a player in his twenties.

Although he communicates well, Peyper can be fussy, has little truck with captains who question his every decision and has been criticised for inconsistent use of the Television Match Official (TMO).

He came under fire in Dublin last year after officiating Ireland's loss to New Zealand when he was accused of letting the All Blacks get away with aggressive, some would say downright dangerous, tackling.

Peyper also has few friends among Australia fans because of what they perceive to be a soft approach to cynical play from the All Blacks on the rare occasions the world champions have found themselves under pressure in Bledisloe Cup matches.

JEROME GARCES (FRANCE), SECOND TEST

Garces, who refereed New Zealand's tight semi-final victory over South Africa at the 2015 World Cup, will not hesitate to punish cynical foul play with yellow cards regardless of the context of the match.

Like his compatriot Romain Poite, the 43-year-old from Pau can be relied upon to reward a dominant scrum and he is an absolute stickler for players rolling away at the breakdown.

He attracted some controversy at the last World Cup when he failed to penalise Argentine prop Ramiro Herrera for a late, reckless charge into a ruck against Ireland.

However, he also showed the light touch that fans love earlier in the tournament when he took charge of Japan's stunning upset of the Springboks in Brighton.

ROMAIN POITE (FRANCE), THIRD TEST

Poite took charge of the third test of the 2013 Lions tour to Australia and played a key role in sending the decisive match the tourists' way with his refereeing of the scrum.

The 41-year-old rewarded the dominant scrummaging of Lions prop Alex Corbisiero and punished Australia's attempts to disrupt the set piece, which had a big impact on the 41-16 victory that won the Lions the series.

Later that year, however, he was excluded from top tier matches for the November series after showing South Africa hooker Bismarck du Plessis a yellow card for a tackle on New Zealand's Dan Carter.

Always very much the boss, Poite upset Australia coach Michael Cheika when he refused to engage with Wallabies skipper Stephen Moore during a test against the All Blacks last year.

His response to England's confusion over Italy's refusal to form rucks in a Six Nations match earlier this year - "I'm sorry, I'm a referee not a coach" - was ultimately vindicated by a World Rugby ruling that the tactic was legal.

Compiled by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Peter Rutherford

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