Wayne Barnes: English referee set to surpass Nigel Owens as most capped referee

Dylan Coetzee
Waynes Barnes looks on during a Premiership game.

English referee Waynes Barnes is set to become the most capped referee in rugby history after the match officials for the November Tests were announced by World Rugby.

Barnes will become the second referee to reach 100 Tests after Nigel Owens when he takes charge of Wales against New Zealand on November 5 in Cardiff.

Surpassing Owens

A week later, the 43-year-old will surpass Owens and stand alone as the most capped referee when he officiates the clash between France and South Africa in Paris on November 12.

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont commended Barnes on his pending achievement, referring to the Englishman as a “student of the game”.

“Congratulations to Wayne on his selection and pending record. To be so good for so long as a referee is no easy feat. Wayne Barnes, like Nigel Owens before him, reaches 100 Tests by being not just a fantastic referee, but a great team player, a student of the game and someone who is greatly respected by players, coaches and fans alike,” Beaumont said.

World Rugby’s selection committee chairman Graham Mourie shared Beaumont’s sentiment and took the opportunity to congratulate Barnes for his upcoming record.

“I would like to echo Bill Beaumont’s congratulations regarding Wayne’s impending milestone. Wayne is a role model, a leader and an outstanding match official, he thoroughly deserves what will be a fine record,” Mourie said.

“As we move towards next year’s Rugby World Cup, as a group we are constantly challenging ourselves to be better, to achieve greater consistency and clarity of decision-making. There is a great work ethic within the team, and we will continue to ensure that safety, speed and space are our priority.”

Referee appointments

Other appointments see Georgian Nika Amashukeli officiating Japan against New Zealand in the first game of the window.

At the same time, South African Jaco Peyper takes his total to 60 Tests when he oversees Ireland against Fiji as one of two Tests he takes charge of in November.

Luke Pearce reaches 40 Tests as a referee when he takes centre stage for Scotland’s clash with Australia on October 29.

Meanwhile, Australian Angus Gardner referees the last of Test rugby for 2022 when England faces South Africa at Twickenham on November 26.

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