Nigel Owens will referee his third Heineken Cup final when he takes charge of this season’s showpiece European club rugby match between Leinster Rugby and Ulster Rugby at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday, 19 May.
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The experienced Welsh official refereed the 2008 and 2009 finals won by Munster Rugby and Leinster Rugby respectively, and the eagerly anticipated all-Irish clash will be his 70th game in European club tournaments.
40-year-old Owens has officiated at seven of the eight European weekends so far this season and was on duty at last month’s Heineken Cup quarter-final between Edinburgh Rugby and Toulouse at Murrayfield.
Meanwhile, Wayne Barnes will take charge of his first Amlin Challenge Cup final when ERC’s London finals weekend gets under way with the meeting of French rivals Biarritz Olympique and RC Toulon at the Twickenham Stoop on Friday, 18 May.
The leading English official has been on duty in seven of the eight European weekends to date, most recently when he officiated at the Heineken Cup semi-final between ASM Clermont Auvergne and Leinster Rugby in Bordeaux. Barnes also refereed the 2010 Heineken Cup final when Toulouse defeated Biarritz at the Stade de France.
The ERC finals referee and assistant referee appointments were made by the ERC Match Officials Sub-Committee taking into consideration a comprehensive ongoing review of performances across all relevant tournaments in conjunction with the referee managers in each Union. Throughout both competitions, ERC also provides an opportunity for coaches to share their feedback on the performance of match officials and that feedback is considered in the review process.
Friday, 18 May
Amlin Challenge Cup final
Biarritz Olympique v RC Toulon – Twickenham Stoop (20.00)
Referee: Wayne Barnes (Eng); Assistant referee 1: Dave Pearson (Eng); Assistant referee 2: JP Doyle (Eng)
Saturday, 19 May
Heineken Cup final
Leinster Rugby v Ulster Rugby – Twickenham Stadium (17.00)
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales); Assistant referee 1: Romain Poite (Fra); Assistant referee 2: Jerome Garces (Fra)