The Englishman will become the eighth official to referee a men's World Cup final
England have a presence in the Rugby World Cup final after all as Wayne Barnes will take charge of Saturday’s showpiece between New Zealand and South Africa at the Stade de France in Paris.
Barnes has never taken charge of a men’s World Cup final and was thought to have been lined up for the gig four years ago only for England to shock New Zealand in the semi-final in Japan, making him ineligible and he took charge of New Zealand’s win over Wales in the third place play-off instead.
Barnes to referee World Cup final with all-English team
The 44-year-old will be assisted by an all-English match officiating team with Karl Dickson and Matthew Carley assisting him and Tom Foley on duty as the TMO. Barnes is the world’s most-capped referee with 110 Tests worth of experience and will rack up a record 27th Rugby World Cup match this weekend.
He is the second Englishman to take charge of a men’s Rugby World Cup final after Ed Morrison who oversaw the final in 1995, the only previous time the All Blacks and the Springboks have met for the chance to lift the Webb Ellis trophy.
The bronze final between Argentina and England will be refereed by Australian Nic Berry with Georgia’s Nika Amashukeli and Ireland’s Andrew Brace running touch and Wales’ Ben Whitehouse acting as the TMO.
World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said: “On behalf of World Rugby, I would like to congratulate Wayne Barnes on his deserved appointment as the Rugby World Cup 2023 final referee. Such an appointment is a reflection of Wayne’s calibre, not just at this tournament but over a distinguished career.
“It is a result of his devotion to the game, the support of his family and the spirit of collaboration and excellence that exists across our entire match official team. We wish him and Nic Berry well this weekend.”
World Rugby High Performance 15s Match Official Manager Joël Jutge added: “Wayne’s ability to read and understand the game is second to none. He also embodies the passion, professionalism and dedication that is at the heart of a superb team of match officials at this Rugby World Cup.
“While an individual ultimately has the accolade of refereeing the final, it is the team of 26 officials who have all played their part in this moment. I would also like to congratulate Karl, Matthew and Tom on their appointments to the final as well as Nic, Nika, Andrew and Ben on their bronze final appointments.”