Ireland v Wales referee: Who is Six Nations official Andrea Piardi?

Andrea Piardi will make history as he takes charge of Ireland vs Wales in the 2024 Six Nations.

Piardi becomes the first Italian to take charge of a fixture in the men’s competition, overseeing his first fixture as one of two refereeing debutants in round two.

The 31-year-old has been a familiar face on the touchlines as an assistant over the last few years, travelling to the World Cup in France in the autumn as the sole Italian representative in the officiating group.

Born in Brescia, Piardi made his debut in what is now the United Rugby Championship in 2019, and he stepped up to international level that March, looking after Germany vs Spain in Cologne.

His quick rise continued with an appointment to the URC final between the Stormers and Munster earlier this year, with Piardi now hoping to build further success with the whistle as he makes his Six Nations debut.

“I honestly haven’t thought about it too much yet and maybe I don’t feel so much the excitement of being the first Italian to referee a Six Nations match,” Piardi told the Six Nations website earlier this month. “But I think it’s more the one linked to the achievement of a goal of mine, but also of all the sacrifices and efforts made by my family, my loved ones and the people who have been close to me.”

A mechanical engineering graduate from his hometown university, Piardi became a professional referee last summer.

Match officials for Ireland vs Wales, Saturday 24 February (2.15pm GMT, Aviva Stadium)

Referee: Andrea Piardi (Ita)

Assistant Referees: Karl Dickson (Eng) & Gianluca Gnecchi (Ita)

TMO: Eric Gauzins (Fra)