Cape Town - The Springboks are happy that English referee Wayne Barnes will officiate their Rugby World Cup encounter against Italy in Fukuroi City on Friday.

The standard of refereeing has been a hot topic at this year's showpiece event in Japan, with World Rugby even coming out with a statement admitting the officiating was not up to scratch.

It's fair to say that the Boks had some issues with Frenchman Jerome Garces in their 23-13 opening defeat to the All Blacks.

It was South Africa's sixth loss in a row against New Zealand with Garces as referee, and they've won only four of the 14 Tests he's overseen.

But with Englishman Barnes the Boks have a far better record, having won 10 of the 13 Tests he's refereed for them.

"We've got a good record with him because he is as very good referee," assistant coach Matt Proudfoot said on Monday, as quoted by SA Rugby.

"He makes good decisions; he is a clear communicator. When you have a referee like that you can have a good record with him."

Proudfoot added that they prepared for the specific referee on the day.

"He (the referee) is the CEO, he is the boss so we've got to meet what he wants in the game. Nothing is left to chance in this team. We have got specific plans - there is so much going on behind the scenes.

"We will have a specific plan with how we deal with Wayne and how we communicate with him and what he is looking for. Those are the specifics that we put around the team and how we approach him and get his information through to us."

Proudfoot said Barnes was "a great communicator".

"He's a very sharp referee. He has done great work and is very well respected worldwide. He likes a bit of a challenge at the breakdown but as I said last week, every referee has got their own idiosyncrasies about how he sees the challenge. And that's fine and we accept that, as long as he applies it consistently to both sides the players adapt to that very, very quickly."

Friday's clash at the Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa is scheduled for 11:45 (SA time), with the Springbok team to be named on Tuesday.

- Compiled by Herman Mostert