Wayne Barnes, the accomplished rugby referee with a remarkable record, recently reflected on the challenging players he encountered throughout his extensive career.
Officiating a record 111 Tests, including five World Cups, Barnes made history by issuing the first-ever red card in a final to New Zealand captain Sam Cane for a high tackle during South Africa’s title retention.
In his inaugural post-retirement interview, Barnes expressed concern about the escalating issue of social media abuse, highlighting his belief that it is on the rise.
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Worst players to referee
#5. Joe Marler (England)
Barnes said: “Marler is one of my favourite players to have refereed. He made me smile before, during and after a match.
“He once got hold of my number in the lead up to a Quins match that I was refereeing and he sent me a WhatsApp message during the week explaining, in Joe’s unique way, how delighted he was that I would be refereeing. There was a shared smile in the changing room when I started my front-row chat an hour before the game.
“However, I wouldn’t speak to him during the match as I had learnt from previous occasions refereeing him that getting into a conversation would often distract me.
“I’d therefore tell him that he wasn’t allowed to speak to me and designate an assistant referee he was allowed to speak with. ‘You can’t speak with me tonight, Joe, but you can speak with Dixy’. Paul Dix not only worked with me as an assistant referee throughout my Premiership career, but he could talk the hind legs of a donkey too.”
Joe Marler facts:
- Marler started his career at Haywards Heath RFC in Sussex where he played in the same side as fellow England international Billy Twelvetrees
- After joining the Quins academy in 2008, the prop spent some time on loan to Esher and Worthing
- He’s been nicknamed Croissant. In his own words, it’s because: “The boys think I have a nose that looks like a French pastry.”
- Marler was captain for England at U18s level and represented the U20 squad throughout the Junior World Championship in summer 2009
- He is also one of the hosts of The Joe Marler Show podcast with Tom Fordyce