Wayne Barnes, the most seasoned referee in the storied history of Test rugby, is set to take charge of the World Cup final between New Zealand and South Africa, according to RUCK soruces.
Barnes, renowned for his extensive and distinguished career in rugby officiating, brings a wealth of experience to this prestigious occasion.
Barnes’ illustrious career spans several decades, during which he has earned a reputation as one of the most respected and capable referees in the sport. He has officiated numerous high-stakes matches, both in domestic leagues and international competitions, consistently demonstrating his astute understanding of the game’s intricacies and a firm commitment to fair and consistent officiating.
Throughout his tenure, Barnes has proven himself as a steady presence on the field, maintaining composure in the face of intense pressure and making critical decisions that impact the outcome of matches. His selection for the World Cup final is a testament to his unparalleled expertise and the trust placed in him by the rugby community.
In this monumental clash between the All Blacks and the Springboks, Barnes’ role as the lead referee not only highlights his exceptional career but also underscores the significance of his contribution to the world of rugby officiating.
The Telegraph believe he will be supported by Tom Foley, a fellow Premiership colleague, who will serve as the television match official (TMO) in this historic encounter, as both teams vie for the honor of becoming the first nation to lift the World Cup for the fourth time.
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Day jobs of the 2023 Rugby World Cup referee’s:
#1. Ben O’Keeffe
Nationality: New Zealand
Occupation: Eye Doctor
One of New Zealand’s six full-time referees, O’Keeffe is also a qualified doctor specialising in ophthalmology, which deals with eye health and disease.
Ben O’Keeffe facts:
O’Keeffe became an amateur referee for the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) in 2013 having started officiating in 2008 at the age of 19
He grew up in Blenheim, New Zealand and attended Marlborough Boys’ College where he was head boy in 2006.
O’Keeffe’s brother, Michael O’Keeffe, represented New Zealand at the 2012 London Olympics in football
Ben O’Keeffe toughest player to referee: Ma’a Nonu
O’Keeffe said: “I think like Ma’a Nonu, yeah he was pretty tough. I’ve noticed over the last few years that players are just a lot bigger, a lot faster and a lot stronger.
“I trained with the Highlanders pre-season one year and you get a real appreciation of how big, fit and hard they hit. That just remind me why I just I love refereeing – so I don’t have to take those big hits.”
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