While most of us have thought about pushing, or punching, a referee, and while a lot of fans have voiced their desire to punch Wayne Barnes, there is no excuse for actually doing it.
Clermont’s Viktor Kolelishvili was lucky, then, not to be sent off by Barnes when he came forward two metres and shoved the referee. His claim that Barnes was in his line of sight might have saved him a red card there, though the 36-year-old seemed less than inclined to take the drastic step of showing a card, as it could only have been a straight red.
Not long after, Kolelishvili threw Alun Wyn Jones to the ground and shoved his arm into his face. As he had just been spoken to by Barnes, he was sent to the bin. Throughout the match he was making such a nuisance of himself that Barnes warned Clermont again, at which point the coach had had enough and wisely took Kolelishvili off the pitch.
It has since been announced that Kolelishvili was cited by match commissioner Mike Rafter for that incident, according to Wales Online. At his hearing in Paris, it was determined that the offence was at the lower end of World Rugby’s penalties and Judicial Officer David Martin selected 24 weeks as the appropriate entry point sanction.
Two weeks were added due to his record for poor discipline, but the sentence was reduced by half of the original entry level sanction, meaning the Georgian will be banned for a total of 14 weeks.
The sentence might seem appropriate, with Dylan Hartley having been banned for eleven weeks for calling Barnes a “fucking cheat”, and with Sergio Parrisse only getting 40 days for insulting a referee. But this is probably a lucky escape, because however much some might dislike Barnes, or want to assault a referee, this is rugby and not football. Many would not blame World Rugby for banning him for much longer, if not indefinitely.
Paul Peerdeman, Pundit Arena