England referee Wayne Barnes will retire following next year's Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Barnes, who was in charge of last week's Bledisloe Cup clash at Eden Park, has revealed to the Guardian that the upcoming Premiership season in England will be his last as he eyes a fourth a final World Cup.

The 39-year-old has refereed 200 Premiership games and 81 test matches.

He made his test debut as referee in 2006 and a year later was in charge of the All Blacks quarter-final defeat to France.


The Englishman sinbinned All Blacks centre Luke McAlister at a crucial moment of the game and also missed a forward pass in the move that brought France the matchwinning try in their 20-18 triumph.

Barnes reportedly received personal abuse and even online death threats following the All Blacks' exit.

He has since been rated one of the top referees in the world and has taken charge of semifinals at the last two World Cups.