Ref Watch: Più Italiani

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For the third game in a row Cardiff Blues will have an Italian official involved after they ran the line against Zebre in round one and Gianluca Gnecchi took charge of the win over Munster.

Monday night’s trip to Munster will be handled by Andrea Piardi who will referee his seventh Guinness Pro14 encounter having gradually moved up the referee ranks over the last two seasons, taking over from Marius Mitrea as the top Italian official.

It will be his first trip to Thomond Park but his second time in Munster after he famously refereed the Irish side’s 43-0 win over Southern Kings at Musgrave Park back in February 2019 while not penalising the home team once.

Since then though he has taken charge of Kings’ 14-16 win over Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium, and Bristol’s 16-18 victory over Stade Francais, in Swansea and Paris respectively, during the 2019/20 season.

This is Piardi’s second time refereeing Cardiff Blues after he was in the middle for the 54-22 win against Pau at the Arms Park last season. So far this campaign he has officiated just one game, Leinster’s 35-5 win over the Dragons, showing a yellow card to each side.

The Italian will be assisted by Frank Murphy and Eoghan Cross, both of Ireland, while the Television Match Official is Brian MacNiece, also of Ireland.

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