Wayne Barnes and his wife, Polly Barnes, have been in the spotlight after the Rugby World Cup final due to social media threats. He was chosen as the referee for the 2023 Rugby World Cup final between New Zealand and South Africa in October 2023. His wife allegedly got death threats after the contest. Barnes retired on November 2, 2023, after social media abuse following the Rugby World Cup final, capping off a great career spanning 111 Test matches. Wayne and Polly Barnes have known each other for most of their lives. Despite being childhood friends, they only began dating in their mid-20s. Nonetheless, they are married and loving parents to their two children.
Wayne Barnes is a former English international rugby union referee who was born on April 20, 1979, in Bream, Gloucestershire. Branes began his refereeing career at the age of 15 with Gloucester & District Referees. At the age of 21, he became the youngest referee selected to the Panel of National Referees. Barnes has been a professional referee since April 2005, officiating in renowned competitions such as the Rugby World Cup, Six Nations, and Heineken Cup.
Despite criticism during the 2007 Rugby World Cup, he kept making progress. He oversaw the Heineken Cup Final in 2010 and will supervise his 250th Premiership Rugby match in 2022. Beyond rugby, Barnes, a criminal lawyer and partner at Squire Patton Boggs, describes his story in the memoir “Throwing the Book,” planned for publication on November 9, 2023.
Who Is Wayne Barnes’s Wife, Polly Barnes?
Wayne Barnes married his lifelong love, Polly Barnes, and they now reside in London. They supposedly married in the early 2000s and have been together ever since. Polly, too, has had a deep connection to rugby her whole life, from her first introduction to the sport to her present job as a co-founder and director of the Women’s Rugby Association. Mrs. Barnes was a rugby player who began playing when she was approximately eleven years old.
She had to give up rugby, however, since she wanted to study ballet and modern dance. Polly met Wayne when she was eleven years old, and her husband when he was sixteen. To delve further into their connection, the former rugby union referee began questioning Polly when she was approximately sixteen. Polly finally succumbed to Wayne’s persistent efforts around the age of 24. The Barneses are now the delighted parents of two little children called Juno and Beau.
Online Threats to the Family
Wayne Barnes‘ most recent match was one of his most difficult. In the 12-11 defeat to South Africa in the Rugby World Cup final, he issued the first red card to New Zealand captain Sam Cane. Following the setback, New Zealand fans began hurling insults at the 44-year-old referee. A few days later, Barnes announced his retirement from officiating. Wayne has spoken out against social media harassment, calling it ‘evil’ and demanding action. He told BBC Sports, “When people make threats against your wife and kids, they should be held accountable and punished.”
“Threats of sexual violence, threats of saying we know where you live,” Barnes said. It goes over that boundary.” Furthermore, Wayne claims that he utilizes social media to promote charitable work and officiating, highlighting the difficulties of the job and humanizing it. He went on to say, “I make that choice, and with that choice comes the ability for people to send messages of hate and violence.” Barnes hopes that his experience and retirement will help the next generation of referees face similar problems.