Veteran referee Wayne Barnes has had a joke at his own expense on Twitter after he dramatically brought first-half play to an abrupt halt during Friday night’s high-scoring Gallagher Premiership match between Northampton and London Irish. 


Barnes had published the latest episode of his much-watched YouTube Throw The Book series on Thursday. In it, he explained the law regarding obstruction in rugby but he soon found himself having to own up about not listening to his own words just a day later.

With 27 minutes of the match gone at Franklin’s Gardens and Northampton on the attack with the score 17-14 in their favour, Barnes got his positioning wrong and he wound up obstructing the pass-seeking Tom Collins, clattering into winger’s chest with his shoulder. 

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The official fell to the ground without the pass being caught and it resulted in Barnes having to stop play and restart the match with a scrum. He has now had a quip on Twitter about the incident, writing: “Yesterday I posted about obstruction but clearly didn’t listen to my own advice!”

Barnes had opened his short video explaining obstruction by saying, “Obstruction in open play can lead to tries being chalked off, so it is important that the referee gets it right.”

He added: “Don’t run directly into them to hit them over or block their path by running into the space which stops them getting out to make the tackle… is this player in a position to take the ball and then do they initiate contact? They are the two questions for the referee.”


Barnes’ untimely intervention on Friday didn’t leave Northampton frustrated for long as they went on to win 44-26 in an English top-flight match where Ollie Sleightholme and Alex Mitchell both scored two tries apiece with Fraser Dingwall and Piers Francis also crossing.

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