While rugby has a reputation of players being nicer to referees than in football, there is still a huge amount of focus on the man with the whistle, so here's all you need to know about the people in charge of each Six Nations Championship game.

This year will again be without the most recognisable refereeing voice in the game after the retirement of legendary Welsh official, Nigel Owens.

But there is no doubt those with the whistle will still be sought out by fans - sometimes for the wrong reasons.

Daily Echo: Refereeing legend Nigel Owens has retired to the farm. Picture: PARefereeing legend Nigel Owens has retired to the farm. Picture: PA

Here's your guide to the 'people in black' (although it's generally yellow these days) at this year's tournament...

Jaco Peyper

South African Peyper is featuring in the Six Nations for the first time since 2020.

A referee for some 15 years, he most notably achieved notoriety during the 2019 Rugby World Cup, when he sent off France's Sébastien Vahaamahina for an elbow during the quarter final against Wales.

After the match, social media exploded when a photograph emerged of Peyper posing with Wales fans with his elbow on one of their heads, which didn’t go down well…

Mike Adamson

Adamson is a former Scotland 7s international player. Primarily a fly-half, he played professionally for Glasgow Warriors and London Scottish.

Ben O’Keeffe

New Zealander O'Keeffe has been refereeing in the Six Nations since 2016 and has taken charge in four world cup games.

His brother, Michael O'Keeffe, represented New Zealand in football at the 2012 London Olympics.

Wayne Barnes

Daily Echo: England's Wayne Barnes will referee Ireland v Scotland in round 5. Picture: PAEngland's Wayne Barnes will referee Ireland v Scotland in round 5. Picture: PA

Perhaps the most famous referee in the game - certainly in the northern hemisphere - since the retirement of Nigel Owens.

England’s Barnes will be in charge of his 98th Test match when he oversees Ireland v Scotland in Dublin.

Nika Amashukeli

The first Georgian to referee a Six Nations match, Amashukeli is one of the three debutants in this year's Six Nations.

Interestingly, the first rugby match he watched in full on TV was Ireland v Georgia at the 2007 Rugby World Cup, which was refereed by Wayne Barnes (see above).

In 2020, Nika and Wayne refereed a match together in the Autumn Nations Cup.

Damon Murphy

The Australian, who will make his Six Nations debut during the competition, was a winger in his playing days and captained the Australian sevens side.

Karl Dickson

Daily Echo: Former Quins scrum-half Karl Dickson will referee Scotland v France in round 3. Picture: PAFormer Quins scrum-half Karl Dickson will referee Scotland v France in round 3. Picture: PA

Dickson will be familiar to many English fans, having played more than 150 times for Harlequins.

The scrum half, now 39, has now made the transition to referee rather than refereed.

Angus Gardner

Gardner, an Australian, began refereeing at the age of just 15. He has been in the middle in Test matches for more than a decade and in 2018 was named world rugby referee of the year.

Nic Berry

Australian Berry is a ref English and French fans might recognise, having played for Wasps and before that, Racing Metro.

He took up refereeing after retiring in 2012 due to a series of concussions.

Meanwhile, assistant referees Pierre Brousset, Tual Trainini (both France) and Chris Busby (Ireland) will all make their Championship debuts, along with TMOs Stuart Terheege (England), Ben Whitehouse (Wales) and Brett Cronan (Australia).

2022 Guinness Six Nations referees by game

Round 1

Saturday, February 5 at 2.15pm: Ireland v Wales - Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Referee: Jaco Peyper

Saturday, February 5 at 4.45pm: Scotland v England - BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe

Sunday, February 6 at 3pm: France v Italy - Stade de France, Paris
Referee: Mike Adamson

Round 2

Saturday, February 12 at 2.15pm: Wales v Scotland - Principality Stadium, Cardiff
Referee: Nic Berry

Saturday, February 12 at 4.45pm: France v Ireland - Stade de France, Paris
Referee: Angus Gardner

Sunday, February 13 at 3pm: Italy v England - Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Referee: Damon Murphy

Round 3

Saturday, February 26 – 2.15pm: Scotland v France - BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Referee: Karl Dickson

Saturday, February 26 at 4.45pm: England v Wales - Twickenham, London
Referee: Mike Adamson

Sunday, February 27 at 3pm: Ireland v Italy - Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Referee: Nika Amashukeli

Round 4

Friday, March 11 at 8pm: Wales v France - Principality Stadium, Cardiff
Referee: Matthew Carley

Saturday, March 12 at 2.15pm: Italy v Scotland - Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Referee: Luke Pearce

Saturday, March 12 at 4.45pm England v Ireland - Twickenham, London
Referee: Mathieu Raynal

Round 5

Saturday, March 19 at 2.15pm: Wales v Italy - Principality Stadium, Cardiff
Referee: Andrew Brace

Saturday, March 19 at 4.45pm: Ireland v Scotland - Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Referee: Wayne Barnes

Saturday, March 19 at 8pm France v England - Stade de France, Paris
Referee: Jaco Peyper