O'Keefe joins Test referee ranks

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Lynn McConnell     31 Mar 2016     Getty Images

World Rugby announced its appointments for the June international window on Wednesday.

Fellow New Zealander Nick Briant will control the Georgia v Tonga game in Suva on June 18 with O'Keefe travelling to Tokyo to control Japan v Scotland.

Glen Jackson will referee the South Africa v Ireland game in Port Elizabeth on June 25.

New Zealand's Tests against Wales will see Wayne Barnes referee the first Test in Auckland on June 11, Jaco Peyper in Wellington on June 18 and Jerome Garces will referee the third Test in Dunedin on June 25.

Several assistant referee appointments have also been made.

On June 11 Mike Fraser and Brendan Pickerill will assist Nigel Owens when he becomes the game's most experienced referee by controlling his 71st Test match when in charge of the Fiji-Tonga Test in Suva.

Glen Jackson will be on the sideline in the first Australia v England Test with Craig Joubert as Romain Poite is in charge in Brisbane.

Mike Fraser will join Owens in assisting Craig Joubert in the second Australia v England Test in Melbourne while Glen Jackson and Ben Whitehouse from Wales will assist Angus Gardiner at Ellis Park for South Africa v Ireland.

Pickerill will assist O'Keefe in Tokyo on June 18 while in Sydney on June 25, Mike Fraser and Joubert will assist Owens in the third Australia v England Test in Sydney.

Briant and Samoan referee Fa'avae Neru will assist Pascal Gauzere in Apia for the Samoa v Tonga game on June 25 while Pickerill and O'Keefe will be on the touchlines to assist Marius Mitrea of Italy in the Japan v Scotland game in Tokyo on the same day.

Owens will pass South African Jonathan Kaplan's record of 70 Tests when refereeing in Suva. His first Test was in 2003 between Portugal and Georgia in Lisbon.

He has controlled 16 Six Nations games, 12 Rugby Championship or Tri Nations games, three European Cup finals and last year's Rugby World Cup final.

Owens said: "I am really looking forward to this next challenge in Fiji, where I have never refereed before."