Rugby World Cup: Referees Nigel Owens and Wayne Barnes confirmed for fourth tournaments

Wayne Barnes and Nigel Owens discuss a refereeing decision during a match
Referees Wayne Barnes (left) and Nigel Owens made their first World Cup appearances at the 2007 tournament

Referees Nigel Owens and Wayne Barnes have been selected to officiate at their fourth Rugby World Cup.

Welshman Owens, 47, took charge of the 2015 final between New Zealand and Australia at Twickenham.

Barnes, 40, is joined by fellow English referee Luke Pearce, who will be appearing in his first tournament.

Four Frenchmen have been selected among the 12-strong group of referees while the host nation Japan has just one assistant referee, Shuhei Kubo.

England-based Matthew Carley and Karl Dickson have been selected as assistant referees along with Ireland RFU official Andrew Brace.

Owens and Barnes will match the achievement of Welsh referee Derek Bevan to officiate at four World Cups.

"I am very excited and honoured to be doing another World Cup, a tournament which is the pinnacle of everybody associated with rugby," said Owens.

"It is my fourth World Cup and in all probability it will be my last as a referee.

"It is something special as well with it being staged in Japan and it will be the first one in Asia."

Referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Luke Pearce (England), Jérôme Garcès (France), Romain Poite (France), Pascal Gauzere (France), Mathieu Raynal (France), Nigel Owens (Wales), Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand), Paul Williams (New Zealand), Nic Berry (Australia) and Angus Gardner (Australia).

Assistant referees: Matthew Carley (England, reserve referee), Karl Dickson (England), Andrew Brace (Ireland), Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand), Federico Anselmi (Argentina), Shuhei Kubo (Japan) and Alex Ruiz (France).

TMOs: Graham Hughes (England), Rowan Kitt (England), Ben Skeen (New Zealand) and Marius Jonker (South Africa).

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