Ireland discover Rugby World Cup pool stage referees
Wayne Barnes will referee Ireland's Rugby World Cup opener with Scotland as Joe Schmidt's side begin their tournament with a trip to Yokohama.
Ireland have been drawn in Pool A alongside Scotland, Japan, Samoa and Russia with the 2017 and 2018 Six Nations champions favourites to progress through the pools.
Barnes will take charge of the Scotland game while Australian Angus Gardner will officiate the match against host nation Japan with Jerome Garces calling the game with Russia and Nic Berry the whistleblower for the pool finale with Samoa.
— Andy McGeady (@andymcgeady) July 19, 2019
Ireland concede more penalties with Wayne Barnes than they have averaged over their last 35 games.
Ireland have conceded 264 penalties over their last 35 games for an average of 7.54 penalties per game, and oddly, Joe Schmidt's side actually concede more penalties when they win compared to when they lose (7.55 penalties conceded over 27 wins compared to 7.5 penalties over eight losses).
However, in the four games that Barnes has officiated since the 2015 Six Nations (Wales 2015 Six Nations - 11, France 2015 Six Nations - 11, Wales 2017 Six Nations - 4 and Scotland 2018 Six Nations - 9) Ireland have conceded 8.75 penalties per game.
Former Ireland internationals Kevin McLaughlin and Donncha O'Callaghan acknowledged that Barnes can be tricky to deal with.
"Marginal decisions, he just tends to go against Ireland," McLaughlin told SportsJOE last year. "Everytime I watch him referee Ireland, I know it's going to be tricky."
O'Callaghan added: "Unfortunately, Wayne Barnes...and its always the frustrating thing with Wayne Barnes, he's always right! It's to the letter of the law."