“In line with match official appointments for the tournament the selection of the match referees for the Finals Series have been merit-based and have included input from the team head coaches,” SANZAAR said in a statement.
“It is Gardner’s maiden Super Rugby Final appointment and is reward for his high quality performances throughout the season.”
The 33-year-old referee made his Super Rugby debut in 2012 when he refereed the Reds against the Rebels in Brisbane.
He is now one of the most experienced Super Rugby referees, taking charge of 60 Super Rugby matches and in 2018 he has taken charge of 13 matches.
"For me to not be in the spotlight at all and no-one mention my name, that’d be ideal.”— RUGBYcomau (@rugbycomau) July 29, 2018
Referee Angus Gardner is keen to stay out of the spotlight in his first #SuperRugby final.https://t.co/AhAWB1mEGe
Gardner broke through at senior Test level in 2016 and during 2017 refereed in all the major Test match windows, including appointments in the Six Nations and the Rugby Championship.
He has refereed 13 Test matches and has been appointed to referee two Rugby Championship Tests this year – Argentina versus South Africa and South Africa versus New Zealand.
The assistant referees are Glen Jackson and Nic Berry and the television match official is Shane McDermott.
Former Chiefs and Saracens flyhalf Jackson, who has had an excellent tournament, must have been close to getting the nod but the fact that he is from New Zealand would have played a part in him missing out.
The two teams in the final are the Crusaders from New Zealand and the Lions from South Africa, giving Aussie Gardner the advantage of neutrality.
No room has been found for referee Ben O’Keeffe or TMOs Ben Skeen or George Ayoub who were caught up in controversy earlier in the tournament.
Super Rugby Final
Crusaders  v Lions  @ AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Date: Saturday August 4
Kick-off: 19:35 local (11:35 UAE time)
Referee: Angus Gardner
AR1: Glen Jackson
AR2: Nic Berry
TMO: Shane McDermott
The 15-team tournament is currently split into New Zealand, South African and Australian conferences, but it has come under increasing criticism this season.
It was introduced in a bid to reduce travel and boost the number of local derbies, but critics say it is too complex and not exciting enough for fans.
New Zealand officials have also raised concerns about the number of Kiwi derbies, which they say rival Test matches in intensity and take a toll on players.
“I will only echo what most coaches are saying,” Gibson told the Sydney Morning Herald on Monday after the Waratahs lost their weekend semi-final in Johannesburg to the Lions 44-26.
That's all for us this Super Rugby season. A fantastic effort by both teams on the day, Congratulations to both Lions Rugby Co and BNZ Crusaders. Put on a great show! Thank you to all our passionate fans this season. It's been a huge turnaround of a season. .#LIOvWAR pic.twitter.com/QpRwJWlxme— NSW Waratahs (@NSWWaratahs) July 28, 2018
“We haven’t got the competition right in terms of its format and we need to do something to make it more exciting for all countries that are participating in Super Rugby.
“Going back to a round-robin format where everyone plays each other is certainly one way we can achieve that.”
Super Rugby’s governing body SANZAAR is undertaking a review to determine the sport’s future up to 2030, which could involve expanding into new markets that are seen as key to boosting television revenue.
NSW Rugby chief executive Andrew Hore last week implored SANZAAR to “keep it simple”.
“Our first responsibility is to create a wonderful competition that connects our rugby people with the international game,” he told reporters.
“Don’t waste this opportunity, don’t let it get caught up in higher political issues.
“Just try to keep it simple, and try to make it the best competition we can.”
Here’s three areas of the game the South Africans must win if they are to triumph:
This is a crucial battle in any match and will be even more crucial at AMI Park.
With referee Angus Gardner in control the breakdowns will be a full on contest with the Australian far more lenient on what you can and can’t do at ruck-time.
The Lions must know when to contest and when they do so – do it with absolute precision.
Crusaders have only dropped 3 games of 36 in last two years. Some team.— Iain Payten (@iainpayten) July 28, 2018
You can’t just sit back and give the Crusaders unlimited tackles as such is the speed and execution of their attack that they will eventually cut you to shreds.
When the Crusaders get into gear they are an unstoppable machine and the only way to prevent that is winning turnovers to stop them developing momentum.
The Crusaders are the best defensive team in Super Rugby giving up just 17.6 points per match.
They were the only side to allow less than 400 points in the season (they let in 317) with the next best the Chiefs on 400. (The Lions gave up 484 points at 26.8 per game.)
The Crusaders tackle like their lives depend on it and they defend in a cohesive 15-man unit. They take teams scoring tries against them as a personal affront and defend with the same desperation if they are one point up or 100.
If the Lions are to win they much match the Saders tackle for tackle.
Brilliant vision from Richie Mo’unga.— Christy Doran (@ChristypDoran) July 28, 2018
The Crusaders playmaker is the most complete fly-half in New Zealand.
Beauden Barrett still likely to wear the No 10 jersey for the All Blacks #CRUvHUR pic.twitter.com/eHpw4E8fem
The Crusaders have a near All Blacks pack with seven of the eight who started against the Hurricanes boasting a Test cap.
The only one not-capped was Jordan Tafua who is in the All Blacks squad this year.
If the Lions have any chance they must disrupt the Red and Blacks at the scrum and lineout. But that is easier said than done as the Hurricanes found out.
With captain Sam Whitelock dominating the lineout and Joe Moody, Codie Taylor and Owen Franks in the front row the scrum is almost immoveable.