O’Brien backs Barnes

Death threats outrage refs chief

The International Rugby Board has defended referee Wayne Barnes after he received death threats in the wake of New Zealand’s surprise World Cup exit.Barnes sent Luke McAlister to the sin-bin and missed a forward pass in the lead-up to France’s match-winning try as the All Blacks lost 20-18.

He has been subjected to personal abuse and death threats on internet sites.

“I think it’s a disgrace and people have to grow up,” IRB referees manager Paddy O’Brien told BBC Radio 5live.

“New Zealand losing that game was not all about the forward pass. The pass was forward but that’s rugby refereeing.

“Hindsight is a wonderful thing but you can’t turn back the clock.

“I’m a very proud Kiwi and I wear my heart on my sleeve when the All Blacks are playing, but it doesn’t change my judgement.

“Sport is about winning and losing and New Zealand lost, let’s get on with life.

“It’s a sad reflection and I’d like to say that it’s not all New Zealand people.”

The 28-year-old Barnes will not take any further part in the tournament after the IRB decided not to use him for any of the remaining matches.

“He is a superb referee, we have a lot of confidence in him,” O’Brien said.

“That’s why we gave him the quarter-final. He’s an outstanding individual as a person and it makes me sick to the stomach to hear some of the comments about him.”

O’Brien insisted that Barnes was still a big part of the IRB’s future plans.

“I’ve spoken to Wayne personally to congratulate him on a very fine performance,” he said.

“We spoke about the forward pass but at the end of the day he can’t guess.

“It’s a game played by humans and refereed by humans. We try to get it accurate if we can and WB is the brightest star we have on our books.”

Source: BBC Sport

Looking around last night, I was amazed by what I found. Having been in Cardiff on Saturday, I thought (albeit with a slight bias) that Barnesy had a good game. Very difficult last half hour to manage but superbly done. I do think the broadcasters have let him down a little.

In the yellow card moment, the broadcasters did not show what he said to McCaw. I only heard it underlying the commentary in my ear from the reflink system they have in use.  Was clear that the YC could have come for the previous maul drop (French maul went 25m before being collapsed) but the second cynical tatcic by McCallister took him out. Seems perfectly good call to me (from the other end of the Stadium).

How many of us could handle all the sh1t that Barnesy has had in the last few days! Not sure I would have, and its part of my day job!

Leave a comment


  1. Richard

     /  9 October, 2007

    I agree, I think it’s disgarceful the sort of crap Barnes has gone through. You can’t get everything right, and I’d like to see some of the NZ “fans” do better.

    Hopefully these people are only a minority of the (normally) gracious NZ rugby fans.

  2. Quite right Richard. Hopefully we might see some balance coming out of the Long White Cloud now the dust has settled.


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