Rugby Union

England's Barnes to referee Lions games against Bulls and Stormers

Wayne Barnes to take charge of British and Irish Lions tour games against Bulls and Stormers as English referee is given rare honour after Covid restrictions reduce number of available officials

  • Wayne Barnes will officiate the Lions’ tour games against Bulls and Stormers 
  • The English referee has been given the rare honour due to Covid restrictions 
  • The three Test games will be officiated by an Australian, Kiwi and Frenchman 

English referee Wayne Barnes will take charge of a couple of Lions tour matches in South Africa with the Tests officiated by a New Zealander, Australian and Frenchman.

Aussie Nic Berry will referee the first Test in Cape Town before Kiwi Ben O’Keeffe and then France’s Mathieu Raynal run the final two in Johannesburg.

Barnes will have the rare honour of officiating the Lions as an Englishman, as Covid restrictions have reduced the referees available, in charge of the Bulls and Stormers tour games.

Englishman Wayne Barnes will be given rare honour of officiating British and Irish Lions games

Jaco Peyper of South Africa will do the Lions v South Africa ‘A’ and Sharks matches, with fellow countryman AJ Jacobs taking charge of the Johannesburg Lions game against the tourists.

Meanwhile, the Lions are facing a nervous wait over the fitness of Sam Simmonds after Exeter’s No 8 hobbled off with an ankle injury at Northampton.

The 26-year-old was seen with an ice pack on his left ankle when he was substituted on 65 minutes amid fears of a recurrence of the problem he has been managing since rolling his ankle against Bristol six weeks ago.

‘We didn’t take him off because it was a clear “that’s it, he’s done”, I thought let’s get on with things and keep the momentum in the game,’ said Simmonds’ boss Rob Baxter. 

The referee will take charge of tour games against Bulls and Stormers in South Africa

Aussie referee Nic Berry (left) will take charge of the first Test in Cape Town later this summer

‘I don’t want to make a call on how bad it is. It could be very minor.

‘We will take everything into account and if the right thing medically is for him not to play against Sale next week then he won’t.

‘People are either fit or they are not. Sam likes playing. He does not think rest suits him – but if his ankle isn’t right, it isn’t right.

‘He won’t want to be cotton-wool wrapped for the Lions. We don’t know the extent of the injury at all.’ 

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