Rugby World Cup 2023: who is the referee, TMO and touch judges for New Zealand vs Italy

Referee Matthew Carley. Picture: David Rogers/Getty Images
Referee Matthew Carley. Picture: David Rogers/Getty Images

New Zealand will be aiming to take a huge step towards the knock-out stages of the Rugby World Cup this weekend.

The three-time champions lost to France on the opening night of the tournament, but the All Blacks bounced back a week later with a convincing victory over Namibia. After a rest week, New Zealand will be back in action and aiming to make it two wins out of three.

For the game, the All Blacks will have Jordie Barrett back as the centre returns from injury. Sam Whitelock will become the most capped player in New Zealand's history when he runs onto the field on Friday night.

Italy have had a strong start to the tournament having ran out 52-8 winners against Namibia on the opening weekend. The Six Nations side had a rest week for round two and returned to action for the first midweek game of the tournament on 20 September against Uruguay.

Despite trailing the South Americans at half-time, Italy scored three second-half tries to seal the win and a bonus point to take their tournament total to 10. But they will face their toughest tests in the final two rounds with games against the All Blacks and then hosts France.

Italy have never advanced from the pool stage of the rugby world cup despite competing in every tournament since 1987. New Zealand had never lost a pool stage game until the defeat against France on 8 September 2023.

But who will be the match officials for the match at OL Stadium in Lyon on Friday, 29 September. Here's all you need to know:

Who is the referee for New Zealand vs Italy?

English match official Matthew Carley will be taking charge of the game at OL Stadium on Friday night. It will be his third game of the pool stages - including the round one game between Wales and Fiji, in which many felt the Pacific Islanders were on the wrong end of a number of close calls.

He then took charge of France's win over Namibia - in which a red card was shown to Namibian captain Johan Deysel for a dangerous tackle on Antoine Dupont.

Carley has made his world cup debut in the 2023 tournament. Since making his professional debut in 2013, Carley has regularly refereed games in the Gallagher Premiership and has gone on to take charge of European rugby games as well as test matches.

During the tournament he has also been an assistant referee for the Ireland vs Tonga game in second round.

Who is the TMO and assistant referee?

Carley's countryman Christophe Ridley and Australian match official Nic Berry will be the touch judges for the game in Lyon on 29 September. Ridley has already served as an assistant referee for three matches so far in the tournament including the All Black's game against France on the opening night.

Berry has refereed Japan's win over Chile in the opening round and served as touch judge for three other matches - including Uruguay vs Namibia on Wednesday evening.

The TMO will be Australian official Brett Cronan. It will be his fourth time in the hot seat during the tournament so far.

How to watch New Zealand vs Italy?

The Pool A clash will be televised by ITV (and STV in Scotland) on Friday night. The broadcaster has exclusive rights for coverage of the tournament in 2023.

It will be broadcast live on ITV1 - and also ITVX, the streaming service - with coverage starting at 7.30pm ahead of kick-off at 8pm. A TV licence is required to watch live events on ITVX.