What do you call an Englishman in the Rugby World Cup final? The referee.
The 44-year-old Barnes, the most experienced international referee in Test history, will be assisted by his countrymen Karl Dickson and Matthew Carley on the touchline, while Tom Foley will be the television match official.
Barnes was once known as the “most hated man in New Zealand” after he officiated the All Blacks controversial quarter-final exit from the 2007 World Cup, also in France.
However, two weeks ago, he was in charge of the All Blacks’ stunning quarter-final win over the then world number one ranked Ireland in Paris.
Barnes was also the man in the middle for the Springboks’ quarter-final wins in 2015 and 2019 against Wales and Japan.
Appearing in his fifth consecutive World Cup, Barnes becomes only the second Englishman to take charge of the tournament’s decider. The only other Englishman was Ed Morrison, who was in charge when the Springboks famously beat the All Blacks in 1995.
Australian Nic Berry, Wales’ Andrew Brace and Georgia’s Nika Amasukeli will be trio in charge of Friday’s third-place play-off between losing semi-finalists England and Argentina.
Saturday’s final and Friday’s clash will both kick off at 9pm.