Wayne Barnes has reflected on some of his most memorable moments as a referee in the Gallagher Premiership, including a mass brawl and a streaker in his very first match.
Barnes is one of the most experienced referees in rugby, having first officiated a Premiership match back in 2003, while he made his international debut in 2006.
The Englishman officiated his 250th Premiership match last night, as Bristol Bears saw off Sale Sharks at Ashton Gate, and Barnes was asked to reflect on some of the standout moments of his career before the game.
Barnes was speaking to BT Sport and listed off four games, the first of which was anything but an ordinary encounter.
Wayne Barnes on his standout moments.
“I know that people think refs are there just to ruin their afternoons or their evenings but we love the game as well and we love being involved in the games,” Barnes explained.
“My first game in 2003, Bath vs Rotherham, mass brawl, stopped by a streaker in an elephant g-string… Some things you do remember.
“But some wonderful games as well, 2008 was my first final. Lawrence [Dallaglio’s] last game, Leicester vs Wasps at Twickenham Stadium. That fantastic final in 2019 between Saracens and Exeter and the last game here [Ashton Gate], the semi-final last year.
“28-0 down, Harlequins came back to win in extra time. Those are the memories of those 250 games. It’s special to be a part of it, I love the game, I love being part of these fantastic occasions.”
— Freddie Burns (@FreddieBurns) January 8, 2022
The streaker is the brother of Freddie and Billy Burns.
The streaker in the elephant g-string that Barnes is mentioned is the older brother of England’s Freddie Burns and Ireland’s Billy Burns, according to the former.
The Leicester Tigers fly-half took to Twitter to reveal that his older brother was the streaker that stands out so vividly in Barnes’ memory.
“Absolutely dying. The streaker was my older brother Sam! Congrats on 250 Wayne Barnes,” Burns tweeted.