The event took place on 6th September to highlight Emirates association with Rugby with one of the best-known officials in the game, Wayne Barnes taking part in a Q&A with former Irish international, Tommy Bowe, asking the questions.
Barnes spoke about the upcoming Rugby World Cup 2019™, which will be his fourth as an official and he recounted how 2007 was his first Rugby World Cup™, which coincided with Emirates first sponsorship of the game.
When asked by Bowe what he expects to be the biggest challenges ahead of the Ireland team, Barnes stated:
“Getting used to the physical environment, humidity and heat will be a challenge for everyone.”
It wasn’t all rugby related as Bowe asked Barnes how he mixes life as a barrister with refereeing.
“As a barrister, I’m self-employed so I can juggle my diary,” Barnes replied and when asked by Bowe how he wanted to become a referee when he has just 15, Barnes explained how an injury led him to try refereeing and it became apparent he was a better referee than a player.
With 23 officials travelling to RWC2019, Barnes also spoke about the challenges referees face when making decisions on the field, describing how most decisions are reactive, “You just referee what’s in front of you. You can’t start thinking ‘What if?’”
While in agreement with Bowe that the Hawkeye equipment helps make for a collective decision, Barnes added:
“If we have any doubt as referees, we’re not going to be sending any players off. Referees want to make the right decisions, but they also want to give players the benefit of the doubt.”
When asked about games that stand out in his memory, Barnes spoke about France V New Zealand in Rugby World Cup 2007™ and Ireland’s Grand Slam victory in 2009 against Wales.
Emirates first sponsored Rugby World Cup (RWC) 2007 in France, then became a Worldwide Partner for RWC 2011, 2015, and now the tournament in Japan 2019™.
Rugby has been a part of Emirates’ portfolio for more than 20 years since the company became the Title Sponsor of the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens, part of the HSBC Sevens World Series. Emirates is also proud to sponsor the Cape Town Sevens, the first event of the 2019/2020 Series.
Enda Corneille, Country Manager for Emirates in Ireland, commented:
“Rugby World Cup is one of the most iconic sporting events with a huge following in Ireland and Emirates is proud of its long-standing association with the game. At every international rugby match, World Rugby’s™ elite panel of referees take to the field in their Emirates Fly Better kit.
“Emirates brings people and cultures together, just as rugby brings people together through a shared passion for sport. We connect Ireland to more than 150 destinations, including Japan for Rugby World Cup 2019™.”
Ireland will kick off its first match against Scotland this Sunday, 22 September.