Veteran referee Wayne Barnes will reportedly oversee the All Blacks’ World Cup final clash with South Africa at Paris’ Stade de France on Sunday (29th October).
According to UK publication The Telegraph, Barnes – the most experienced referee in test history – will take the whistle in a World Cup final for the first time in his 16-year career. He also adjudicated the All Blacks’ quarter-final victory against Ireland at the same venue a fortnight ago.
The Englishman is refereeing at his fifth Rugby World Cup, dating back to 2007 and his infamous performance during the All Blacks’ quarter-final defeat to France.
Barnes, 44, will be supported by compatriot Tom Foley in the TV official role and will become the second Englishman, since Ed Morrison in 1995, to referee a final – coincidentally in a match involving the two same teams.
An offficial announcement on both the final and third-place playoff referee appointments is reportedly delayed to allow South African Jaco Peyper time to recover from the injury that forced him from the field early in the Wales v Argentina quarter-final.
Barnes will referee the Springboks for the first time since a 29-28 loss to France last November at Marseille. After the test, South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus posted tweets, including videos questioning some of his decisions, allegedly resulting in Barnes’ family being abused on social media.