Wayne Barnes, the man who refereed the 2007 World Cup game between France and New Zealand, has suggested that we could have seen a very different result to that quarter-final match if the officials had the benefit of today’s allowed technologies.
France pulled off one of the most famous results in the history of World Cups, besting the considerably more fancied All Blacks 20-18.
In the build-up to 69-minute game-clinching try, a forward pass was thrown by Freddie Michalak to the supporting Yannick Jauzion which was missed by Barnes and his refereeing team.
Under the rules of the time, the TMO was unable to call the play back and Barnes, who was in a position that made it difficult for him to see the forward pass, awarded the try.
Under the current laws, however, a referee can ask their TMO to check anything in the lead-up to a try.
“We did have technology in play but not for decisions like that,” Barnes told Stuff. “The television match official can rule on build-up incidents now, so I would have seen the error in a few seconds.
“It was pretty obvious on the replay, wasn’t it? We’d have gone back for a scrum and we wouldn’t still be talking about it.”
Barnes has been on the receiving end of considerable criticism from Kiwi supporters since that quarter-final.
“I think I was voted the third most-hated man in New Zealand that year so it was pretty impressive,” the experienced referee told BT Sports early last year.
“As a referee, you never want to be in the headlines and whenever you are, whether you’re right or wrong, that’s not what you’re there for.”
Now widely considered one of the best referees in the world, Barnes has confirmed that he has at least one more year of high-level officiating to go – at the minimum.
“Reports of my imminent retirement have been exaggerated,” the 41-year-old said.
“I was always due to take stock after the World Cup in Japan. The 2021 Lions is appealing and given that Nigel [Owens] did the 2015 World Cup final at the same age I’ll be in 2023, who knows?”
Englishman Barnes also revealed that he had been shoulder-tapped to officiate last year’s World Cup final but that plan was thrown out the window when England progressed through to the match.
“I was given a heads up that I would probably have got the final,” Barnes said.
“Which would the English public rather have had — me on show or England in the final?”
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