This weekend sees England and France 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 Saturday’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.”
Both England and France will be looking to continue their momentum and react after victories in the last round of fixtures. England won 10-20 against Wales while France defeated Scotland 32-21.
Here’s who will be keeping the two nations in line, as well as full team line ups and how to watch the action live on TV.
England v France referee: Ben O’Keeffe
New Zealand’s Ben O’Keeffe is the man in charge of the England v France clash. O’Keeffe began his career as a professional referee for the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) in 2013 having started officiating in 2008 at the age of 19.
Below is the full list of match referees as well as the TMO.
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
Touch judges: Jaco Peyper (South Africa) & Andrea Piardi (Italy)
TMO: Brett Cronan (Australia)
England v France Six Nations 2023 confirmed line-ups
England team to face France: 15. Freddie Steward, 14. Max Malins, 13. Henry Slade, 12. Ollie Lawrence, 11. Anthony Watson, 10. Marcus Smith, 9. Jack van Poortvliet, 1. Ellis Genge, 2. Jamie George, 3. Kyle Sinckler, 4. Maro Itoje, 5. Ollie Chessum, 6. Lewis Ludlam, 7. Jack Willis, 8. Alex Dombrandt.
Replacements: 16. Jack Walker, 17. Mako Vunipola, 18. Dan Cole, 19. David Ribbans, 20. Ben Curry, 21. Alex Mitchell, 22. Owen Farrell, 23. Henry Arundell
France team to face England:
15 Thomas Ramos, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Gaël Fickou, 12 Jonathan Danty, 11 Ethan Dumortier, 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Antoine Dupont (c), 1 Cyril Baille, 2 Julien Marchand, 3 Dorian Aldegheri, 4 Thibaud Flament, 5 Paul Willemse, 6 François Cros, 7 Charles Ollivon, 8 Grégory Alldritt
Replacements: 16 Peato Mauvaka 17 Reda Wardi, 18 Sipili Falatea, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Sekou Macalou, 21 Maxime Lucu, 22 Yoram Moefana, 23 Melvyn Jaminet
Six Nations 2023 England v France - how to watch
Kick off for the game being held at England’s home turf, Twickenham, is at 4.45pm on Saturday, March 11. You can watch the match live on ITV1 and ITVX with build up to the clash beginning at 4.15pm.