- England’s Wayne Barnes to reach 100-test milestone with Wales v New Zealand
- Barnes to then set new record of 101 tests when he takes charge of France v South Africa
- Road to Rugby World Cup 2023 continues for teams and match officials
- Appointments also made for Final Qualification Tournament that completes the Rugby World Cup 2023 line-up
England’s Wayne Barnes is set to make history when he takes charge of his 100th and 101st tests during the November international window.
Barnes, who made his debut in Fiji in June 2006, will become only the second referee to reach a century of tests behind friend Nigel Owens when he takes charge of Wales v New Zealand at the Principality Stadium on 5 November.
The Englishman will then set an outright record of 101 tests when he referees the match between Six Nations Grand Slam winners France and world champions South Africa in Paris a week later, on 12 November.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont led the tributes to Barnes: “Congratulations to Wayne on his selection and pending record. To be so good for so long as a referee is no easy feat. Wayne Barnes, like Nigel Owens before him, reaches 100 tests by being not just a fantastic referee, but a great team player, a student of the game and someone who is greatly respected by players, coaches and fans alike.”
In total, 23 match officials representing 10 nations will take charge of the 37 November tests announced so far.
The Emirates World Rugby Match Officials appointments, made by World Rugby’s Match Official Selection Committee, mark another important milestone on the road to Rugby World Cup 2023 in France. The appointments also include the RWC 2023 Final Qualification Tournament in Dubai, where the 20th team will be confirmed for next year’s tournament.
- Nika Amashukeli (Georgia) takes charge of the first test of the window – Japan v New Zealand on 29 October – and Angus Gardner (Australia) the last with England v South Africa on 26 November
- Jaco Peyper (South Africa) will referee two matches in November, bringing up 60 tests with Ireland v Fiji on 12 November
- Luke Pearce takes charge of Scotland v Australia on 29 October, his 40th test as a referee
- Six different referees will officiate matches in the Final Qualification Tournament
- Tual Trainini (France) will referee the opening match – USA v Kenya – on 6 November) and Paul Williams (New Zealand) will take charge of the final one, USA v Portugal on 18 November
- Christophe Ridley (England) will referee his first test involving a Six Nations team with Italy v Samoa on 5 November
- Andrea Piardi (Italy) also referees a Six Nations team for the first time with his appointment for Wales v Georgia on 19 November
As with all internationals, the appointments for the Emirates Match Officials are merit-based and have been made following a thorough review of the July internationals and The Rugby Championship. As usual, the match officials will gather ahead of the window to fine tune alignment and consistency, a constant imperative for the team.
World Rugby Selection Committee Chairman Graham Mourie said: “I would like to echo Bill Beaumont’s congratulations regarding Wayne’s impending milestone. Wayne is a role model, a leader and an outstanding match official, he thoroughly deserves what will be a fine record.
“As we move towards next year’s Rugby World Cup, as a group we are constantly challenging ourselves to be better, to achieve greater consistency and clarity of decision-making. There is a great work ethic within the team, and we will continue to ensure that safety, speed and space is our priority.”