The 35-year-old endured an eventual World Cup last year, being appointed to a quarter-final and semi-final in his second appearance at the tournament.
O’Keeffe’s performance in the last eight was criticised by beaten French captain Antoine Dupont, but the Kiwi responded well and took charge of England’s narrow defeat to semi-final at the Stade de France a week later.
Born in Blenheim on New Zealand’s South Island, O’Keeffe started refereeing at the age of 19 and stepped up into the professional ranks five years later.
He was elevated to a first international fixture in 2015 as an assistant, before a refereeing debut in June 2016 overseeing a draw between Samoa and Japan.
A three-time recipient of the New Zealand referee of the year award, O’Keeffe was selected to take charge of the second British and Irish Lions test in South Africa in 2021, before making the 12-strong list of referees for last year’s World Cup.
A qualified ophthalmologist, O’Keeffe’s brother Michael represented New Zealand at the London Olympics and is now a sports reporter.
He is highly-regarded by World Rugby and is joined by compatriots James Doleman and Paul Williams among the whistlers for this year’s Six Nations.
Wales vs Scotland match officials
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (NZ)
ARs: James Doleman (NZ) & Angus Mabey (NZ)
TMO: Brendon Pickerill (NZ)