Rugby World Cup 2023: who is the referee for Ireland vs Tonga? TMO and assistants named

World Rugby has announced that Wayne Barnes will be the referee for Ireland vs Tonga

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The road to the knockout stages will continue for Ireland at the Rugby World Cup this weekend.

Andy Farrell's men got off to the best possible start with an 82-8 win over Romania during the first round of fixtures. However they will face a more stern test when they face Tonga on Saturday evening.

Ireland are one of the favourites to lift the trophy on 20 October - but still face a challenge progressing from Pool B and have fixtures against Scotland and South Africa later in the pool stage. The reigning Six Nations (and Grand Slam) champions are currently top of the group and will be expecting to make it back-to-back victories once the second round of fixtures are complete.

Tonga sat out the first weekend of the tournament, due to each pool having five teams. But the Pacific Islanders have been touting a plan to shock the Irish in the build up to the fixture.

Ireland are the favourites for the match - but who will be the match officials at the Stade de la Beaujoire, Nantes on Saturday (16 September) night. Here's all you need to know:

Who is the referee for Ireland vs Tonga?

The very experienced English referee Wayne Barnes will be taking charge of the match in Nantes on 16 September. It will mark his fifth world cup as a match official having made his debut in France in 2007.

English referee Wayne Barnes. Picture: ROMAIN PERROCHEAU/AFP via Getty ImagesEnglish referee Wayne Barnes. Picture: ROMAIN PERROCHEAU/AFP via Getty Images
English referee Wayne Barnes. Picture: ROMAIN PERROCHEAU/AFP via Getty Images

Barnes, 44, is one of the highest respected English referees and in 2017 broke the all time Premiership appearances record for a referee - going on to make even more appearances in the years since that achievement.

He has refereed games at the 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019 and now the 2023 world cup tournaments. He was an assistant referee for both Ireland vs Romania and Wales vs Fiji.

Who are the assistants and TMO?

He will be joined by his countryman Matthew Carley - who took charge of Wales vs Fiji in the first round of fixtures - and Welsh official Craig Evans, who will both serve as his assistant referees. Evans was also an assistant for the Australia vs Georgia game on opening weekend.

The TMO will be English referee Tom Foley who is in the hot seat for the second time during the tournament. He was the TMO for the opening game between France and Wales.

How to watch Ireland vs Tonga?

The game will be broadcast by ITV (and STV in Scotland) in the UK. The broadcaster has exclusive rights for the tournament in Britain in 2023.

It will also be streamed live on the ITVX platform. However be reminded a TV licence is required to watch games live on ITVX.