Wayne Barnes installed as referee for Ireland’s pivotal RWC clash with Scotland

VETERAN REFEREE WAYNE Barnes will officiate Ireland’s pivotal Rugby World Cup opener against Scotland on 22 September.

The English barrister, taking a whistle in his fourth World Cup, will be joined for the Yokohama Test by French assistants Pascal Gauzere and Alexandre Ruiz, with compatriot Graham Hughes in the TMO booth.

Barnes has been the man in the middle for some of Ireland’s great days, including the 2009 Grand Slam-sealing win over Wales and November’s victory over the All Blacks.

However, like most referees, he has also been a source of consternation for Ireland fans as he has blown the final whistle on Irish defeats 10 times in 16 Tests, with a forgettable 2007 World Cup scrape with Georgia among the half dozen Ireland wins.

Barnes has taken charge of three Ireland-Scotland Tests with Joe Schmidt’s side winning only the most recent installment – the 28-8 win at the Aviva Stadium during the 2018 Grand Slam success – after Declan Kidney lost under his watch in a 2011 World Cup warm-up and at Murrayfield in the 2013 Six Nations.

Ireland’s second Pool A match will see them take on host nation Japan in Shizuoka, where Australia’s Angus Gardner will take the whistle while Jerome Garces and Matthew Carley assist from the touchline. New Zealand’s Ben Skeen will be TMO on 28 September.

Garces will take his second stint as referee in the tournament (after New Zealand v South Africa) when Ireland meet Russia in Kobe on 3 October.

Ireland’s pool will conclude against Samoa in Fukuoka on 12 October with Australia’s Nic Berry taking charge while Romaine Poite and Brendon Pickerill run the line. Kiwi Pickerill will so be assistant for Ireland-Russia, opposite Mathieu Raynal.

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