Ireland and England are set to go head to head and while it will be the players receiving the most attention, scrutiny will also fall on the man in the middle. Whether decisions go your team’s way or not, there’s a good chance the referee will become a talking point of this afternoon’s game.
In a change to 2022, this year each match will have a different referee overseeing the action with a total of eight nations represented in the selected match officials. Talking about the selection process ahead of the tournament, World Rugby Selection Committee Chairman Graham Mourie said: “As we enter a men’s Rugby World Cup year, our focus is very much on performance and culture as we begin to consider selections for France 2023.
“The more time we have with the group, the better it is for everyone, and we constantly challenge ourselves to be better, to achieve alignment and consistency and strengthen understanding with the teams. As with the November tests and The Rugby Championship, the Guinness Six Nations represents another opportunity for a talented group of match officials with a superb work ethic to help facilitate more excellent tests in what is probably the most competitive period in men’s rankings history.”
Ireland are poised to take the title this year - if they take any points away from today’s match against England, they will be victorious. If Ireland fail to do so, their only challenger heading into Saturday is France if they can beat Wales. England face a tough challenge away from home following a record defeat at the hands of the French last weekend.
Here’s who will be keeping the two nations in line today, as well as full team line ups and how to watch the action live on tv.
Ireland v England referee: Jaco Peyper
South Africa's Jaco Peyper made his Super Rugby debut in 2008 while still in his 20s. In 2011 he was named as an official for the IRB Junior World Championship in Italy, including the final between England and New Zealand where New Zealand won 33-22.
In 2015, the 42-year-old was selected as one of that years Rugby World Cup officials and again for the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Controversially, after sending off France's Sébastien Vahaamahina for an elbow during the 2019 Rugby World Cup quarter-final between Wales and France, he was photographed after the match posing with Wales fans with his elbow on to the head of one of the fans. He was not considered for a World Cup semi-final the week after..
Below is the full list of match referees as well as the TMO.
- Referee: Jaco Peyper (SARU)
- Assistant Referee 1: Ben O’Keeffe (NZR)
- Assistant Referee 2: Pierre Brousset (FFR)
- TMO: Marius Jonker (SARU)
Ireland v England Six Nations 2023 confirmed line-ups
Keenan; Hansen, Henshaw, Aki, Lowe; Sexton (c), Gibson-Park; Porter, Sheehan, Furlong, Baird, Ryan, O’Mahony, Van der Flier, Doris. Replacements: Herring, Healy, O’Toole, Treadwell, Conan, Murray, R Byrne, O’Brien.
Steward; Watson, Slade, Tuilagi, Arundell; Farrell (c), Van Poortvliet; Genge, George, Sinckler, Itoje, Ribbans, Ludlam, Willis, Dombrandt. Replacements: Walker, Vunipola, Cole, Isiekwe, Curry, Mitchell, Smith, Marchant.
Six Nations 2023 Ireland v England - how to watch
Kick off for the game being held at Ireland’s home turf, the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, is at 5pm. You can watch the match live on ITV1 and ITVX with build up to the clash beginning at 4.30pm.
If you can’t get yourself in front of a screen for the game, you can listen to live commentary via BBC Radio 5 Live.