Ref Watch: A controversial appointment

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The first derby of the festive period sees Cardiff Blues heading down to the Liberty Stadium to face the Ospreys on Saturday, 7.35pm kick-off.

Welsh referee Dan Jones will take charge of the tie, with many supporters questioning the appointment of a Cardiff born and bred official who attended Whitchurch High and even played in the Cardiff Blues Academy before injury ended his playing career.

While Ospreys supporters are rightly concerned with him favouring his hometown team and a side he used to play for, Cardiff Blues supporters are concerned he will go overboard in the other direction, favouring Ospreys to prove he is not bias towards the away side.

Jones has been refereeing in the Pro14 for just over three years, and has taken charge of 29 games in that time as he has established himself as the natural successor to Nigel Owens’ throne as the leading Welsh referee.

This season has seen him take the step up into the Heineken Champions Cup, refereeing Clermont v Harlequins and Northampton v Leinster, but it was the second of those games last weekend that has seen him hit the headlines.

Three separate Saints players have been cited for incidents missed by Jones and his team at Franklin’s Gardens, although all three were subsequently dismissed.

He now takes charge of his first game involving Cardiff Blues, and makes his first visit to the Liberty Stadium as the man in the middle, having previously refereed an Ospreys win and loss against Dragons at Rodney Parade.

Jones will be assisted by Gareth Newman and Chris Morgan, while Tim Hayes will act as the TMO.

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