Wayne Barnes takes charge of British and Irish Lions tour matches against Bulls and Stormers as England referee gets rare honor after Covid restrictions cut the number of officials available
- Wayne Barnes will lead the Lions’ touring games against Bulls and Stormers
- England referee has been given the rare honor due to Covid restrictions
- The three test matches will be led by an Australian, Kiwi and Frenchman
England referee Wayne Barnes will take charge of a pair of Lions tour matches in South Africa, with tests led 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 last two in Johannesburg.
Barnes will have the rare honor of leading the Lions as an Englishman as Covid restrictions have reduced the available umpires responsible for the Bulls and Stormers tour matches.
Englishman Wayne Barnes gets the rare honor of leading British and Irish Lions matches
South Africa’s Jaco Peyper will do the Lions v South Africa ‘A’ and Sharks matches, while compatriot AJ Jacobs will take on the Johannesburg Lions match against the tourists.
Meanwhile, the Lions face a nervous wait over Sam Simmonds’ condition after Exeter’s No 8 limped with an ankle injury at Northampton.
The 26-year-old was seen with an ice pack on his left ankle when he was substituted at 65 minutes, fearing a repeat of the problem he’s been managing since he rolled his ankle against Bristol six weeks ago.
“We didn’t take it off because it was clear ‘that’s it, it’s done’, I thought let’s go ahead and keep the momentum going,” said Simmonds boss Rob Baxter.
The referee will take charge of tour matches against Bulls and Stormers in South Africa
Aussie referee Nic Berry (left) will lead the first test in Cape Town later this summer
“I don’t want to call about how bad it is. It can be very small.
“We will take everything into account and if it is medically right for him not to play against Sale next week then he won’t.
‘People are fit or not. Sam likes to play. He doesn’t think rest is right for him – but if his ankle isn’t right, he isn’t right either.
“He won’t want to be pampered for the Lions. We don’t know at all how big the injury is.’