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Wayne Barnes is one of the world’s greatest referees. Discover more about his life and career with RugbyPass, your resident rugby gurus.

Wayne Barnes Bio

Wayne Barnes is an elite international rugby union referee. He’s one of the world’s finest officials and he has refereed matches at the Rugby World Cup, the Six Nations Championship and The Rugby Championship. Wayne Brnes was inducted into the RugbyPass Hall of Fame in 2021.

Born 20 April 1979, Wayne Barnes started playing rugby at the age of eight. By the time he reached 15, he had also started to referee the game. From here, his rise was meteoric. In 2001, at the age of 21, he became the youngest referee ever appointed to the Panel of National Referees. He then turned professional in 2005.

Ever since, Wayne Barnes has widely been regarded as one of the game’s finest officials. He made his test debut in 2006, and he was one of three English referees appointed to officiate at the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

Since then, Wayne Barnes has officiated in some of the world’s biggest matches, including Six Nations Championship deciders, the third/fourth place play-off at the Rugby World Cup, the Heineken Champions Cup final and the Premiership final. 

In total, Wayne Barnes has refereed more than 200 Premiership games and has officiated at four Rugby World Cups. In 2019, he was crowned as the Rugby Referee of the Year. As a result, it was expected that Wayne Barnes would officiate the 2019 Rugby World Cup final. However, because England reached the final, he once again took charge of the bronze medal match instead.

Still only young, Wayne Barnes remains at the top of his game. We can’t wait to see what else he can achieve before he hangs up his whistle.