Did Wayne Barnes Cheat To Help Wales Beat Ireland?

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We’re not entirely convinced but some fans put together this video explaining why they think Wayne Barnes cheated to help Wales beat Ireland last weekend…







  1. Whoever put this video together hasn’t got a clue. I’ll clarify what I can as a qualified referee.

    In regards to the ruck, a player may not go directly off his feet (a la Sexton here). If he does the sanction is a penalty to the opposition. All the examples here, the Welsh players drive the Irish back and end up on the floor in the process. That is entirely legal (if it wasn’t, every single ruck would result in a penalty). To be perfectly honest, the Welsh did a phenomenal job of clearing the Irish out of the rucks.

    The ‘criminal offense’ is total nonsense. If you pause at 1:13 you can see all 3 Welsh players entering through the gate. Once entering through the gate they game chose to push the opposition back or to the side (as they did here). Faletau releases the ball after no more than a second, hence there is no holding on.

    In regards to the rolling away incident, McGrath impedes Webb by rolling directly into him. The Welsh players all roll away without interfering with the scrum half, or preventing access to the ball. The one exception is with Rhys Webb, however O’Connell had thrown him into the path of Murray.

    For the offsides, in both cases Wales are not offside. Total nonsense. Players are allowed to be within 10m as long as they are retreating.

    In the first two scrums the Irish Loosehead intentionally wheels, you can see this as his first steps are to his left, not straight ahead. Hence the penalty was given second time. For the Wales scrum on their own 5. Pause at 4.00 dead on and you can see neither Heaslip nor O’Brien are bound. Technically should have been a Wales penalty. For the final scrum, the call came from the assistant referee, not Barnes.

    For the Irish penalty try, both teams are responsible for bringing it down. One of the Welsh forwards hits the deck, but from 4:28 onwards you can see Heaslip pulling the maul down. As the Welsh player is impossible to identify, how can a yellow card be given?

    For the final maul, Charteris has come through the middle and stopped the Irish from getting the ball out. The maul eventually went to ground under its own weight. Hence as the ball was unplayable, scrum is awarded to the defending team.

    The only arguable point is the Welsh holding on, could have been given either way. It is possible Barnes thought the ball had gone to ground earlier than it did.

    Otherwise, from what the video shows, he did a reasonable job.

    • Yes the video was mostly stupid and lacking knowledge of the game. Final scrum. You say you are a ref. OK, I believe you. Can you please tell me why Phillips was allowed to put into the scrum so almost directly backwards and not called on it with Barnes standing right next to him? Hmmm? Do NOT say ohhhh they all do that or I will ignore anything you say. What is the penalty, you are a ref, for not putting into the scrum “straight”?

      Why when the Welsh scrum is literally falling apart, disintegrating would best describe it, do they get the penalty at the end of the game? I ask becasue I hacve watched it 10 times and cannot figure it out.

      I saw an electric game today Eng vs Fran and wow just amazing. I saw England win a wonderful scrum and it wheeled around with an English player moving left in 100% same position as the Irish player that Barnes called on a couple of occasions for Wales yet Nigel Owens blew the whistle and called the penalty for England. Barnes blew it for Wales and Owens for England. Plain and simple.

      I watched Barnes blow the whistle in the first half after 2 seconds for Ireland holding on and in the second half I literally counted 5 situations where Wales did it for 6 seconds and no penalty for holding on. This is aggravating to say the least!

      Look I just want a decent game of rugby. I hate this crap. This is an intelligent game. We have to get beyond Refs making decisions that literally make no sense and we have to accept it as gospel. Wales played outstanding defense. Granted 100%. Ireland missed so many chances and that is on them. But when you have two calls made against you with 2 mins left and they make absolutely no sense and no one is able to say why then that is called being frustrated and pissed.

      Is Barnes anti-Irish? How the hell do I know and I shouldn’t have to care. Period. What he says in front of his mirror is between him and his reflection. But his calls were inconsistent 1st half / 2nd half and his scrum decisions were so bad they bordered on a disgrace and it is not good enough.

      Ireland are 6 Nations champions, good I’m happy. England played probably the finest game of rugby I have ever seen against France. Loved every second on it. Thank God it was a ref who knew what the hell he was doing!

      • I am looking at this purely from the perspective of Barnes being accused as bias towards the Welsh, hence I am explaining why the ‘biased calls’ in this video are not biased.

        To be fair, I have no idea why the final call was given. As I Welsh fan I went mad as I thought the penalty had been given against us. However Barnes gave the penalty to us based on the call of the assistant referee, so that is not on him. I probably would have given the penalty to Ireland as the Welsh had the chance to go route one and get it out. They had no reason to keep it in.

        For the not straight, I do agree with you, however both teams were not putting the ball in straight, so Barnes did not favour one team or the other. Should he have blown up for not straight? Probably. But he chose not to. At the end of the day, however many international referees actually blow for not straight these days?

        For the scrum where the Irish back row is not binding (which is not the final scrum, but the one under the Welsh posts). It does not matter if the Welsh pack is going backwards as long as they do not give away a penalty (look at the Ireland-England scrums from a few years ago where the Irish are driven back 15 yards without giving away a penalty). No penalty offense is given against either side, but according to the rules, as the Irish back row were no longer bound before the scrum was completed, they could have been penalised. But Barnes let the game continue, which I think was the right call.

        No referee is perfect, and according to our local referees society, even referees like Nigel Owens & Craig Joubert only probably make 75-80% correct calls. Fact is that they get a split second to make the decision with some of the worlds biggest and fastest athletes playing the game who are also coached to try and take advantage of you. Everyone else watching has the benefit of replays, watching it on a big screen to our hearts content. At the end of the day, without these referees, we would not have a game. And thanks to increased media coverage they are on the receiving end of a disproportionate of abuse from armchair pundits.

        I think the best referee in World Rugby is Nigel Owens. Not because his calls are the most accurate, he is probably no better than any other referee here. But he lets the game flow. He gets the most out of the players. It is no co-incidence that some of the best games of rugby the last few years have been refereed by him New Zealand v South Africa 2013, Ireland v New Zealand 2013, England v New Zealand 2014 & England v France 2015.

        • I think that is pretty fair assesment and at the weekend he was pretty good – there were a couple that he cocked up but hey ho that’s rugby and when i see a player have a perfect game Ill expect the ref to do so as well – I have never seen a player have a perfect game. A lot of teams have gained advantage at the BD from low level cheating – thats why people have a go at Richie McCaw. It is great to see this come down on and once you get rid of this you get a better game. As per the 2nd half. There is an education site by the IRB that will help you understand the ruck more – with videos. Have a look at I think you’ll agree rugby is the most technical game going and that’s why the ref is on a hiding to nothing. http://laws.worldrugby.org/?law=16

    • I couldn’t agree more with you as a Referee also, the 2 irish players shouting release, are kneeling on the player on the floor therefore are too, on the floor and have no rights to have hands in a ruck, as the ruck had formed. The players entered through the gate so that’s crap. The Irish should have played the game and let the referee do his job!

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