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EPCR: Barnes, Garcès, Whitehouse ref finals

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There are three European finals on the second weekend of May. The men to referee them are Wayne Barnes of England, Jérôme Garcès of France and Ben Whitehouse of Wales.

By Paul Dobson, Moonsport

The finals are the Champions Cup (12 May), the Challenge Cup (11 May) and the Continental Shield (12 May), a competition that ends in promotion for the winner to the Challenge Cup. The three finals will be played up in Spain's Basque country - two in Bilbao and the shield match in Getxo.

The six finalists are from six different countries - England, France, Germany, Ireland, Russia and Wales.

Barnes, a 39-year-old barrister from the West Country, refereed the final of the Heineken Cup in 2010, four years before its name was changed to the Champions Cup. He has been to World Cup since 2007 and has refereed 1999 Premiership match, including five finals.

Garcès, a 44-year-old Catalan, will be refereeing his third Challenge Cup final.

Whitehouse, son of Test referee Nigel, is 27. He became a full-time referee in 2015, the year of his first Test

San Mamés Stadium is the home of Athletic Bilbao. It was opened in 2013 and seats just over 53 000 spectators.


Continental Shield Final

Enisei-STM vs Heidelberger RK at Campo Rugby Fadura, Getxo on Saturday, 12 May 2018
Referee: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
Assistant referees: Ian Davies (Wales), Dan Jones (Wales)
Television match official: Neil Hennessy (Wales)
Citing Commissioner: Dave Guyan (England)

Challenge Cup Final
Cardiff Blues vs Gloucester at San Mamés Stadium, Bilbao on Friday, 11 May 2018
Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)
Assistant referees: Romain Poite (France), Pascal Gaüzère (France)
Television match official: Philippe Bonhoure (France)
Citing Commissioner: Maurizio Vancini (Italy)

Champions Cup Final
Leinster Rugby vs Racing 92 at San Mamés Stadium, Bilbao on Saturday, 12 May 2018
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: JP Doyle (England), Tom Foley (England)
Television match official: Rowan Kitt (England)
Citing Commissioner: John Montgomery (Scotland) advert