Referee Wayne Barnes announces retirement after World Cup final

Wayne Barnes has refereed in 111 Tests including 2023 Rugby World Cup final
Wayne Barnes has refereed in 111 Tests including 2023 Rugby World Cup final

English referee Wayne Barnes has announced his retirement just a week after he officiated in the World Cup final between South Africa and New Zealand.

Barnes handed New Zealand skipper Sam Cane a red card in the closely fought final in France which the Springboks capitalised to win the encounter 12-11 as they completed the World Cup triumph for the fourth time. It was also his 27th World Cup game officiating spread across five tournaments.

Overall, Barnes has refereed 111 Tests and has been involved in 206 tests in all as a referee, assistant referee and Television Match Official.

"People often say you will know when it is the right time to retire, and this is clearly the right time for me and for my family," Barnes said in a statement.

"My children have missed out on time with their dad for far too long and I am now looking forward to family weekends, sports matches, school assemblies and birthday parties."

Barnes, who is a barrister by trade, and his wife reportedly received online abuse in the wake of Saturday’s decider in Paris.

"I will continue to advocate for referees and work closely with the International Rugby Match Officials Association to ensure match officials across the globe not only have a collective voice but also the appropriate support network for them and their families," he said.

"Particularly as online abuse and threats have become far too regular for all of those involved in the game."

Meanwhile, World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont paid tribute to Barnes for his contribution to the game.

"Refereeing is a tough job, perhaps the toughest in sport," Beaumont said.

"It takes a special person with passion, dedication and a support network around them to be so good for so long, to referee 111 tests and to earn the respect of players, coaches and fans alike."


2019 Rugby World Cup Points Table