Barnes to referee Saints’ final clash with Tigers

MAN IN THE MIDDLE - Wayne Barnes deals with an issue during the Aviva Premiership semi-final between Leicester and Saints in 2011. He will be in charge of next week's final at Twickenham. (Picture: Linda Dawson)

MAN IN THE MIDDLE - Wayne Barnes deals with an issue during the Aviva Premiership semi-final between Leicester and Saints in 2011. He will be in charge of next week's final at Twickenham. (Picture: Linda Dawson)

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Wayne Barnes will referee Saints’ Premiership grand final showdown with Leicester Tigers at Twickenham next Saturday.

The last time the official took charge of a Northampton game was on March 30, when Jim Mallinder’s men were beaten 36-8 at Franklin’s Gardens by the Tigers.

Barnes has refereed a number of east midlands derbies in recent years, the most infamous of which coming in May, 2011.

Leicester’s Manu Tuilagi landed a barrage of blows on then Saints wing Chris Ashton, with the outcome a yellow card for both players.

Saints went on to lose the Premiership play-off semi-final 11-3, having struggled to come to terms with the decision.

Barnes was also in charge a of the game at Welford Road in December, 2011, when Tigers scored a debatable late try to seal a 30-25 win.