Exclusive: JP Doyle confirmed as referee for Saints’ semi-final against Leicester Tigers

CONFIRMED - referee JP Doyle will take charge of Saints' semi-final against Tigers on Friday night

CONFIRMED - referee JP Doyle will take charge of Saints' semi-final against Tigers on Friday night

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Wayne Barnes will not referee Saints’ Aviva Premiership play-off semi-final against Leicester Tigers – with JP Doyle getting the nod at Franklin’s Gardens on Friday night (7.45pm ko).

Barnes has overseen a plethora of controversial recent meetings between the rivals, with the March clash at the Gardens providing another flashpoint.

The official called time on the game with Saints feeling there were still eight seconds left on the clock.

Jim Mallinder followed Barnes, who sent off Dylan Hartley in last May’s Premiership final between Saints and Tigers, down the tunnel to express his dismay as his team fell to a 22-16 defeat.

And the RFU’s Professional Referee Unit (PRU) management team, who select match officials, have decided a different choice of referee would be the best option for this week’s clash.

Doyle took charge of Saints’ 19-19 draw with Tigers at Welford Road back in October, with the match passing with little controversy.

Barnes is set to be in action this weekend as he takes charge of Saracens’ semi-final against Harlequins at Allianz Park on Saturday.