Wayne Barnes has launched a new video series to help explain some of rugby’s more complex rulings – and he is using his kids’ superhero toy figures to illustrate his Gallagher Premiership explanations. The English referee’s series was prompted by the recent rash of uncontested scrums in the league. 

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Three games, starting with Barnes in charge of the meeting of Bath versus Wasps, have gone to uncontested scrums in recent weeks, prompting debate as to the rulings on whether the team unable to contest scrummaging should have to lose a player because of it. 

Using the likes of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, along with a computer screen graph detailing all the various scenarios in a grid, Barnes talked through the three incidents, initially explaining that it was right that Wasps could replace a player as they had lost someone due to a head injury.   

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He then went on to highlight that it was also correct in the Harlequins vs Bath and Bristol vs Northampton matches for Bath and Northampton to each lose a player after those games went to uncontested scrums. 

Bath suffered as they had two yellow cards at the time while Saints paid a price due to injuries to their two loosehead props. 

Explaining why he decided to start the video series, Barnes, who recently joined Twitter, said: “I’m going to simplify what can sometimes be quite a complex game and I thought I would get a little bit of help from my kids’ superheroes. 

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“Now since the restart, we have had three separate occasions when games have gone to uncontested scrums. Quite unheard of, unprecedented but quite complex as well. There have been lots of questions asked on whether or not a player should have been replaced, whether a team should have been punished by losing a player and all the different scenarios that come into play. 

“There are so many different scenarios that referees can’t have that all in their mind, that’s when we make mistakes so we actually have this little document which is in our kit bag which we use when these things start to happen.”

After explaining that the correct decisions were taken in all three Premiership situations, Barnes concluded: “A really complex area but hopefully a bit more clarity. We have sorted that out and we will hopefully sort some more out as we go along.”

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