Senior rugby players from a Monmouth school enjoyed a surprise meeting with former pupil Wayne Barnes, one of the top referees in the world.
Monmouth School for Boys’ Under-18 A team met Wayne last week during a break in action at the prestigious Rosslyn Park HSBC National Schools 7s.
Wayne, who studied in the Sixth Form at Monmouth, is one of the most recognisable rugby referees in the global game.
“Wayne is a very down to earth man and he took time to introduce himself and speak to all of the Monmouth boys individually,” said Mr Paul Morris, Assistant Rugby Coach of the first team at Monmouth School for Boys.
“I’ve known Wayne for a long time. We both grew up in the Forest of Dean and went to the same school, although not at the same time, before he studied at Monmouth.”
In December, the Old Monmothian became the record holder for most Aviva Premiership English rugby matches officiated.
Wayne has refereed more than 190 Premiership matches and officiated in three World Cup.
After leaving Monmouth, Wayne studied Law at the University of East Anglia. A practising barrister, he works in London every Wednesday.
Mr Morris said: “I was teaching at the school when Wayne joined the Sixth Form at Monmouth and our paths crossed again when he refereed matches I was playing in and, after that, coaching in.
“We have quite a few mutual friends and he returns to Lydney Rugby Club at least once a year for his annual fund-raising game for charity.”
On the field, the Monmouth team, coached by former Wales and British and Irish Lions star John Bevan, won four of their five Group B matches in the National Sevens Vase, including excellent victories against Regent House School, 33-7; Eltham College, 21-12; and Harris City Academy, 48-0.
However, a 28-7 defeat to Cheltenham College put paid to Monmouth’s hopes in the Vase.
In the Bowl competition, Monmouth secured a thrilling, last-gasp 21-14 success against Bishop Wordsworth’s School – in a match streamed live on the web. They then bowed out of the tournament after slipping to a 24-5 defeat to St Paul’s School.