Christophe Ridley will referee the Northampton vs Bath match

Christophe Ridley will referee a Premiership final for the first time after being selected to referee Saturday's domestic decider between Northampton Saints and Bath at Twickenham.

The 31-year-old is said to have impressed the selectors with his confident performance in the semi-final between the Saints and Saracens on Friday evening and was rewarded with the biggest signing of his career so far.

Sources say Ridley will be joined on the sidelines by Anthony Woodthorpe and Luke Pearce, who refereed last year's Premiership final and Saturday's play-off between Bath and Sale Sharks. Tom Foley is set to be confirmed as TV referee, while Ian Tempest and Craig Maxwell-Keys complete the team.

Meanwhile, neither Matthew Carley, who refereed the Champions Cup final between Leinster and Toulouse, nor Karl Dickson will be directly involved in this year's Premiership showpiece.

Ridley, who is talented enough to be part of the Leicester Tigers' academy as a junior player, will be familiar to both finalists as he was the man in the middle when Bath beat Northampton 43-12 in the final round of the regular season at The Rec on May 18.

The Premiership final is the continuation of a season marked by personal milestones. Ridley travelled to the World Cup last year as an assistant referee and a few months later was called to referee a Six Nations match for the first time, taking charge of the dramatic 13-13 draw between France and Italy in Lille.

Ridley's appointment as the first referee to take charge of a Premier League final since the retirement of Wayne Barnes – a role model for Ridley and everyone else – has special significance.

Barnes, who retired from professional refereeing after the World Cup final between South Africa and New Zealand, officiated ten Premier League finals between his first in 2008 and his last in 2022.

Pearce broke the Barnes hegemony to referee the 2023 clash between Saracens and Sale Sharks. Carley refereed the 2021 final, with Craig Maxwell-Key stepping in for the deciding game in 2020 when Barnes tested positive for coronavirus. Otherwise, JP Doyle was selected for the 2017 and 2014 finals and Dave Pearson was in charge in 2010.

How Ridley's view could influence the finale