IRB will ride to the rescue of Wayne Barnes


Not a great start for new Ireland manager Mick Kearney. Somehow he managed to infer from yesterday’s disciplinary hearing on the Stephen Ferris tackle that the committee decided Wayne Barnes was wrong to award a penalty, never mind a yellow card.

Worse still he went public with this idea. In an ill-conceived statement from the IRFU this notion was added to the good news that Ferris was free to play against France, as if the panel had apologized to the lads for wasting their time. The IRFU statement on the issue read:

“While we understand and fully support the stance to stamp out dangerous tackles in the game to make it safe at all levels, the disciplinary panel itself felt that the decision to award a penalty was incorrect and we also felt that it was a fair and legitimate tackle by Stephen.”

Interestingly the Six Nations statement on the citing, and that of Bradley Davies, drew no such conclusion. That simply said that Ferris’s citing was not upheld, which is not the same thing as Wayne Barnes having got it wrong to the extent that the penalty should not have been awarded.

So not only do the Six Nations committee have the hump, but so do the IRB and, not surprisingly, the (English) RFU who saw one of their employees portrayed as having made a horlicks of it. A hat trick then!

Incidentally I don’t think Barnes should have awarded a penalty but I can readily understand why he did. And I, unlike him, had the benefit of technology before arriving at that position.

We await the next IRB press release with interest.



About Brendan Fanning

Brendan Fanning has been involved in rugby all of his life as a player, coach and journalist. He has been rugby correspondent on the Sunday Independent since 1996, and has been reporting on the game since the mid 1980s when he stopped playing with Clontarf. In 2007 his book From There to Here, a definitive account of Ireland’s transition from amateur to professional rugby, was published to critical acclaim.
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5 Responses to IRB will ride to the rescue of Wayne Barnes

  1. Eoin Daly says:

    So what if they have the Hump, and I would not have much sympathy for Barnes – possibly the worse referee in International Rugby- think back to the All Blacks V France in Cardiff quarter final -as bad a refereeing performance as you will ever see. He hardly needs technology from 10 feet away of where the tackle was made. Just a matter of time for him in most matches to get it wrong.

  2. Ronan Byrne says:

    Absolutey no sympathy for Barnes, who having seen him out and about at close quarters during this seasons HEC clearly fancies himself as a celebrity Ref. He ref games with little empathy, as if he’s the reason we all attend games. Refs should be there to facilitate a rugby match not to make a name for themselves.

  3. Bobo148 says:

    Surely pearson is the one that should be reprimanded? He recommended a yellow for what was clearly a red, and a significant red. Don’t mind the tip tackle, it was an off the ball offence and deserved extra attention.

    Ireland lost to the last penalty, but they should never have been in that position in the first place. This applies both in terms of field position, possession and time on the clock. It suits the IRFU to cast a smokescreen over all of these.

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