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18th Jun 2022

Leicester Tigers left fuming with Wayne Barnes after crucial red card decision

Patrick McCarry

Wayne Barnes

“You can disagree with me, but you can’t speak like that.”

After a pretty average opening 20 minutes of the 2022 Gallagher Premiership Final, at Twickenham, it all suddenly came to life. Wayne Barnes and his Television Match Official also had a big call to make.

Saracens were leading Leicester Tigers 3-0, after an early Owen Farrell penalty, when Georgw Ford rolled his ankle after getting tackled on a carry up the left touchline.

In his final Tigers game before he joins up with sale Sharks, for next season, Ford immediately knew he was in trouble. The game was held up for several minutes before Ford had to concede and come off. He was clearly distraught as he was helped off the pitch, and he may now miss England’s summer tour to Australia.

Wayne Barnes and a big card decision

Not long after George Ford hobbled off, referee Wayne Barnes was left with a massive decision.

Tigers hooker Julian Montoya was making a carry when Saracens scrumhalf Aled Davies was required to stop him in his tracks. He was upright and too high on Montoya, and if it looked bad at full speed, slow motion replays did the tackle no favours whatsoever.

As replays rolled, Barnes talked with his TMO before making a decision to only give Davies a yellow card.

“We’ve got head contact, he’s upright… it’s now about how hard he hit him… there is a degree of danger… definitely foul play… direct head contact… no mitigation… it starts at a yellow card. Anyone disagree?”

The TMO was not arguing back so Davies escaped with a trip to the sin-bin. The Leicester players, and supporters, were far from happy, and plenty of neutrals watching on were siding with their ire. Up in the stands, Tigers boss Steve Borthwick shook his head, while Barnes cautioned a couple of Leicester players for their angry response to Davies escaping a red card.

You can watch the full clip, and Wayne Barnes talking his decision through with his TMO, below.

It was left to Tigers to take advantage of being a man better off, even if it was for only 10 minutes.

They scored through Hanro Liebenburg and grabbed a second try, from Jasper Wiese, either side of an Elliott Daly penalty. When Davies returned to the fray, his Sarries side trailed 12-6.