Wayne Barnes is widely respected as one of the world’s best rugby referees.
He has been in charge for more than 90 Test matches and refereed at four Rugby World Cups including three-quarter finals, a semi-final and a two bronze finals.
In the club game Wayne has refereed two European Champions Cup finals and nine Premiership finals.
Barnes, who has over 16 years of officiating experience, provided BTSport.com an exclusive look into his career, including the toughest players he’s had to deal with.
Barnes, who works as a barrister, isn’t sentimental when it comes to the text of the law. However, here are three players he’s had issues dealing with on the pitch down the years.
#1 Martin Johnson
“I was always petrified of Martin Johnson because he was coming to the end of his career when I started in the Premiership.” said Barnes.
“2003 was my first [season] and obviously that was towards the end of his career and I remember I had to sin-bin him once and I actually apologised as I did it.
“I said ‘I’m very sorry I have to do this’ because he’s such a big personality. I guess he was always someone who scared me witless!”
#2 Richie McCaw
“I’ve been on the field with some of the great captains, John Smit, Sam Warburton and Richie McCaw,” said Barnes.
“Richie always had the knack of asking the right question at the right time, sometimes it felt like I was losing a little bit of control.
“Contrary to popular belief, he didn’t talk a lot on the field. He knew the law book inside out and so when he asked a question, he often had a point.”
#3 Andy Goode
“He always made me smile as he made me look athletic when we were on the same pitch. However, the humorous players always keep you on your toes and if they get opportunity to pick you up on a slight faux pas, they will.
“I once mentioned to Andy Goode that him and his team mates were all appealing for far too many decisions and told him that it sounded like there were 15 referees on the pitch. “And you’re not even in the top 10” was his reply.