This weekend sees Italy and Wales 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 Italy and Wales will be looking to make a statement and react after suffering defeat in the last round of fixtures. Italy lost 20-34 by Ireland while Wales suffered a 10-20 defeat to England.
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.
Italy v Wales referee: Damon Murphy
Australia’s Damon Murphy is the man in charge of the Italy v Wales clash. Murphy played club rugby for Brothers Old Boys, where he was the club’s all-time leading try scorer. He made his refereeing debut in 2016 and quickly rose up the ranks of professional officials.
Below is the full list of match referees as well as the TMO.
Referee: Damon Murphy (Australia)
Touch judges: Karl Dickson (England) & Chris Busby (Ireland)
TMO: Joy Neville (Ireland)
Italy v Wales Six Nations 2023 confirmed line-ups
Italy team to face Wales: 15 Tommaso Allan, 14 Edoardo Padovani, 13 Juan Ignacio Brex, 12 Tommaso Menoncello, 11 Pierre Bruno, 10 Paolo Garbisi, 9 Stephen Varney; 1 Danilo Fischetti, 2 Giacomo Nicotera, 3 Simone Ferrari, 4 Niccolo Cannone, 5 Federico Ruzza, 6 Sebastian Negri, 7 Michele Lamaro, 8 Lorenzo Cannone
Replacements: 16 Luca Bigi, 17 Federico Zani, 18 Marco Riccioni, 19 Edoardo Iachizzi, 20 Giovanni Pettinelli, 21 Manuel Zuliani, 22 Alessandro Fusco, 23 Luca Morisi
Wales team to face Italy: 15. Liam Williams, 14. Josh Adams, 13. Mason Grady, 12. Joe Hawkins, 11. Rio Dyer, 10. Owen Williams, 9. Rhys Webb, 1. Wyn Jones, 2. Ken Owens (c), 3. Tomas Francis, 4. Adam Beard, 5. Dafydd Jenkins, 6. Jac Morgan, 7. Justin Tipuric, 8. Taulupe Faletau.
Replacements: 16. Scott Baldwin, 17. Gareth Thomas, 18. Dillon Lewis, 19. Rhys Davies, 20. Tommy Reffell, 21. Tomos Williams, 22. George North, 23. Louis Rees-Zammit
Six Nations 2023 Italy v Wales - how to watch
Kick off for the game being held at Italy’s home turf, Stadio Olimpico in Rome, is at 2.15pm on Saturday, March 11. You can watch the match live on ITV1 and ITVX with build up to the clash beginning at 1.25pm.
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.