New Zealander Glen Jackson will referee Saturday's Super Rugby final between the Wellington-based Hurricanes and Johannesburg-based Lions, rather than the expected Australian referee.
With New Zealand and South Africa teams in the final it seemed likely the final would be awarded to an Australia referee.
Instead, the match has been awarded to Jackson, who is the only New Zealander to have played in and refereed 100 first class matches. Gardiner and New Zealander Ben O'Keefe will be the assistant referees in the match at Wellington's 34,500-seat regional stadium.
Jackson played 60 Super Rugby matches for the Chiefs and 130 for the London-based Saracens.
Tickets for the match sold out within minutes on Tuesday.