Wayne Barnes Retires from Refereeing after Rugby World Cup Final
Last Saturday’s Rugby World Cup final saw England’s Wayne Barnes make his final appearance as a referee, announcing his retirement shortly after. This milestone makes him the second Englishman to officiate a World Cup final, following in the footsteps of Ed Morrison who took charge in 1995.
In the intense match between New Zealand and South Africa, Barnes sent off New Zealand captain Sam Cane for a high tackle in the first half. Ultimately, South Africa emerged victorious with a narrow 12-11 win over their opponents.
However, it is not just his retirement that has made headlines. Reports have emerged that Barnes received death threats following the final. In response to this disturbing development, he intends to continue advocating for referees’ rights and well-being.
Barnes stated: “I will work closely with the International Rugby Match Officials’ association to ensure match officials across the globe not only have a collective voice but also receive appropriate support. Online abuse and threats have sadly become all too common for those involved in the game.”
Hailing from England, Wayne Barnes made his Test debut as a referee during Fiji’s clash against Samoa back in June 2006. Over his illustrious career, he went on to officiate an impressive record of 111 Tests matches and five World Cups.
Reflecting on his journey, Barnes shared: “Over the past two decades, I have had the privilege of being present at some of rugby’s most memorable matches. I’ve witnessed extraordinary talents on display and worked alongside exceptional coaches who’ve shaped this incredible sport.”
The decision to retire was largely influenced by wanting more quality time with family. He emphasized how much he is looking forward to weekends spent together attending sports matches or celebrating birthdays – moments he has missed due to his demanding career.
Barnes’ wife, Polly, has played a significant role in supporting his professional endeavors. He expressed gratitude for her sacrifices throughout the years, enabling him to achieve personal goals and make a mark as one of rugby’s top referees.
Throughout his career, Barnes also officiated 17 Six Nations tournaments, three European Champions Cup finals, and ten Premiership finals. His exceptional contributions did not go unnoticed either; in 2019, he was named World Rugby’s referee of the year.