England reunited with referee Eddie Jones accused of bias for Six Nations clash against Scotland

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Ben O'Keeffe shows a red card to Manu Tuilagi - GETTY IMAGES
Ben O'Keeffe shows a red card to Manu Tuilagi - GETTY IMAGES

England will be officiated by the referee Eddie Jones accused of bias two years ago - forcing an apology from the Rugby Football Union - for their Six Nations clash against Scotland at Murrayfield.

New Zealand referee Ben O'Keeffe took charge of England's 33-30 win over Wales in the 2020 Six Nations, with Jones claiming it was "13 against 16" in the closing minutes after England had Ellis Genge sin-binned and Manu Tuilagi shown a red card for a no-arms tackle.

Jones said of Tuilagi's tackle: "This bit about where your arms are - what a load of rubbish. Manu was trying to kill the tackle. That’s the only thing he was trying to do. It’s absolute rubbish.

“At the end we were 13 against 16 and that’s hard. When you have got a three-man advantage, you are going to do some damage. That’s what happened. We had a numerical disadvantage, so it was tough.”

Bill Sweeney, the RFU's chief executive, later issued a statement publicly apologising to O'Keeffe for Jones' comments.

“The Rugby Football Union does not condone comments that in any way undermine the integrity of match officials, who are central to the sport and its values,” said Sweeney at the time.

“We have discussed with England head coach Eddie Jones the nature of the comments he made... and have made it clear that such comments are not in line with the values of the sport or the RFU.

“Eddie and the RFU regret any implication that Ben O’Keeffe was biased in his decision-making. We have outlined this position to the tournament organisers the Six Nations and World Rugby, who will pass on our apologies to Ben O’Keeffe and the match officials team.”

O'Keeffe went on to take charge of the second Test between the British & Irish Lions and South Africa last summer.

South Africa's Jaco Peyper will referee Ireland against Wales in the first game of this year's Six Nations, with Peyper also taking charge for the final game of the tournament between France and England in Paris.

Other notable appointments include Nika Amashukeli of Georgia officiating Ireland's game with Italy, becoming the first Georgian referee to take charge of a Six Nations fixture. Australia’s Damon Murphy and England’s Karl Dickson are the other Six Nations referee debutants.

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