Nigel Owens will referee his third Heineken Cup final when he takes charge of this season’s showpiece European club rugby match between Leinste and Ulster at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday, May 19.
Nigel Owens refereed the 2008 and 2009 finals won by Munster and Leinster respectively, and the eagerly anticipated all-Irish clash will be his 70th game in European club tournaments.
The 40-year-old Welshman has officiated during seven of the eight European weekends so far this season and was on duty at last month’s Heineken Cup quarter-final between Edinburgh and Toulouse at Murrayfield.
Meanwhile, Wayne Barnes will take charge of his first Amlin Challenge Cup final when ERC’s London finals weekend gets underway with the meeting of French rivals Biarritz Olympique and Toulon at the Twickenham Stoop on Friday, May 18.
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 Clermont Auvergne and Leinster 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.
2011/12 HEINEKEN CUP FINAL:
Saturday, May 19 –
LEINSTER v ULSTER, Twickenham, 5pm
Referee: Nigel Owens; Assistant Referees: Romain Poite, Jerome Garces (both France)
2011/12 AMLIN CHALLENGE CUP FINAL:
Friday, May 18 –
BIARRITZ OLYMPIQUE v TOULON, Twickenham Stoop, 8pm
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England); Assistant Referees: Dave Pearson, JP Doyle (both England)