A new season isn’t all about new faces, and when the 2018-19 Gallagher Premiership Rugby campaign gets underway this weekend, some of the most experienced officials in the business will be the men in the middle.
The campaign gets up and running with the enthralling prospect of a West Country showdown between Bristol Bears and Bath Rugby at Ashton Gate, with JP Doyle overseeing proceedings in front of the BT Sport cameras.
The Irishman takes charge of his 154th Gallagher Premiership Rugby game, with Adam Leal and Wayne Falla his assistants on the night while Rowan Kitt is installed at TMO while Buster White will be the game’s citing officer.
On Saturday, another experienced referee returns to the fold in Wayne Barnes, who takes charge of Exeter Chiefs’ meeting with Leicester Tigers at Sandy Park, which will also be shown live on BT Sport.
Barnes made it 200 not out when he oversaw Saracens’ triumph over Exeter in the Premiership Rugby Final at Twickenham back in May.
Paul Dix and Anthony Woodthorpe will be his assistants in Exeter, David Rose is TMO and Andrew Pearce fulfils the role of citing officer alongside David Barnes.
Matthew Carley referees his 75th game in the competition when he takes charge of Gloucester Rugby’s televised 2pm meeting with Northampton Saints, with Jack Makepeace and Greg Macdonald assisting.
Elsewhere, Harlequins and Sale Sharks meet at The Stoop, with Craig Maxwell-Keys the referee. Simon McConnell and Roy Maybank will assist Maxwell-Keys while the TMO is David Grashoff.
Karl Dickson is in charge of his seventh Gallagher Premiership Rugby match as Worcester Warriors lock horns with Wasps at Sixways, Peter Allan and Philip Watters in situ as assistant referees.
And Round One comes to close on Sunday with defending Champions Saracens on the road at Newcastle Falcons. Ian Tempest takes charge, with this clash also live on BT Sport, while Tim Wigglesworth and John Meredith will be his assistants.