Wayne Barnes

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Wayne Barnes
Barnes before an International Game.
Date of birth (1979-04-20) 20 April 1979 (age 39)
Place of birth Gloucestershire, England
Refereeing career
Years Competition Apps
Aviva Premiership
Heineken Cup
European Challenge Cup
Six Nations Championship
Tri Nations Championship
The Rugby Championship
The Rugby World Cup


Wayne Barnes (born 20 April 1979 in Gloucestershire, England) is an English international rugby union referee. He is a full time professional referee in the Aviva Premiership, and has refereed games in the Heineken Cup and the European Challenge Cup. He has also refereed matches at the Six Nations, Rugby Championship & The Rugby World Cup competitions.

Barnes was educated at Whitecross School in Lydney, where he was head boy, Monmouth School and at the University of East Anglia. He started playing rugby at age eight, and took up refereeing aged 15 with London Society of Rugby Football Union Referees.[1] Barnes is the youngest referee ever appointed to the Panel of National Referees, having been given the position in 2001, aged just 21. He became a professional referee in April 2005, giving up a career in law to do so.[1]

Barnes refereed at the 2003 Under 19 Rugby World Championship in Saint-Denis, France, the 2005 Under 21 Rugby World Championship in Argentina, and was the English representative on the HSBC Rugby Sevens circuit from December 2003 to March 2005. In 2006, Barnes made his test match debut as a referee, taking charge of three matches in the inaugural Pacific Nations Cup.

Barnes was one of three English referees to officiate at the 2007 Rugby World Cup, the others being Chris White and Tony Spreadbury. After he missed a forward pass in the quarter-final between New Zealand and France, which resulted in the French scoring the game-winning try and New Zealand being knocked out of the tournament, profiles were created by some New Zealand fans dedicated to criticising Wayne Barnes' refereeing performance.[2] Comments at various social media internet sites, including death threats and personal abuse, were condemned by the International Rugby Board and then New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark.[3][4][5] Graham Henry, the New Zealand coach, also criticised Barnes performance in his biography released in 2012,[6][7] however the fact he had a book to sell leads some to believe he may have sensationalised certain parts, including this one.

In the 2008 Six Nations Championship, Barnes became the first English official ever to take charge of a Rugby Union match at Croke Park, in which Wales beat Ireland 16–12.

He was appointed in 2008 to take charge of his first Heineken Cup knockout match, between Stade Toulousain and Cardiff Blues at Le Stadium on 6 April 2008. In 2010, Barnes officiated his first Heineken Cup Final between Toulouse and Biarritz at the Stade de France, Saint-Denis, on 22nd May.

Barnes was not selected as part of the panel to referee a Tier 1 summer international for 2012. Instead he refereed at the Pacific Nations Cup in Japan.[8] Various rumours about why he and fellow English IRB referee Dave Pearson were dropped (leaving no English Referees on the IRB Elite Panel list for the first time since its creation) spread around, however none were from official sources and can therefore only be counted as rumour.

Barnes returned to IRB Elite Panel in late 2012 when he was appointed to referee the second Bledisloe Cup game (Australia v New Zealand) in Brisbane, Australia for the Tri Nations in 2012. He has been constantly appointed to top level international matches ever since.


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