'This man has called me a f*****g cheat!' Millions watched rugby ref fume at England star

-Credit: (Image: Ball Carrier on TikTok)
-Credit: (Image: Ball Carrier on TikTok)

11 years ago today, Wayne Barnes reacted furiously to Dylan Hartley and sent off the England man, ending his hopes of making the British and Irish Lions tour.

The moment occurred in the 2013 Premiership final between Hartley's Northampton Saints and Leicester Tigers, when the New Zealand-born hooker made an idiotic mistake.

Having already produced some less-than-savoury comments towards Barnes, the English referee gave the former front-rower a fair warning: "This isn't how you behave as a champion, please keep your comments to yourself or I may have to deal with it by way of penalty."

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Completely ignoring Barnes' warning, Hartley proceeded to call the referee a "f*****g cheat" in the next phase.

Barnes didn't hesitate, brandishing the red card almost immediately. A bold call in such a big game, but a correct one at that. Barnes' ref mic picked up his explanation.

"This man just came up to me and called me a f*****g cheat," explained Barnes.

"He leaves the field."

The commentary team were as shocked as everyone inside the ground when Barnes made the call, but upon learning of his foul language, they got fully behind Barnes.

"If Dylan Hartley has sworn at the referee, then this is exactly the right decision. This is rugby, not football, you do not speak to the officials like that," said the commentator.

If it wasn't enough of a devastating blow for Hartley, it was the same year as the Lions tour of Australia, which Sam Warburton led to a series victory. Hartley was handed an 11-week suspension after his comments, which meant that despite being named in the squad for the tour, he would miss the entirety of it.

Unfortunately for the former England international, he would never represent the Lions, missing his opportunity.

Two years ago, when Barnes refereed his 10th Premiership final, this video went viral on TikTok. It racked up 500,000 views in three days, and has gone on to grab 900,000 views in total.

The original video's sound has been removed from TikTok, so you're no longer able to hear the audio, but a separate clip of the incident can be viewed below.

It has a further two million views here.