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Throwing the Book

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781408719541

Price: £25

ON SALE: 14th November 2023

Genre: Lifestyle, Sport & Leisure

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Wayne Barnes – one of the most-experienced international referees in history and criminal barrister to boot – uniquely lifts the lid on a lifetime of trying to keep the biggest names in the sport on best behaviour.

There aren’t many people who can say they’ve been the thirty-first man on the pitch during a World Cup humdinger, Grand Slam decider or Premiership and European Cup final; listened to the sobs of a 20-stone prop as he tries to belt out his national anthem; heard the crunch of bones after some of the mightiest hits known to the game; or been yards away from the greatest players of the last twenty years, doing almost impossible things with a rugby ball – especially when you’re a working-class lad from the Forest of Dean, wondering how you ever got there in the first place.

Candid, humble and warmly told, Throwing the Book is a definitive account of what it means to be a rugby referee and a love letter to the sport that has provided Wayne with so much. Covering his childhood days, family life, career highs and lows, side-step into law, as well as what’s next in store for Wayne both on and off the pitch, this book reveals the man behind the referee for the very first time.

Serious when it needs to be, but also rich in good humour and humanity, Throwing the Book is a memoir to remember.


Plenty of amusing anecdotes . . . highly readable . . . the former referee's new autobiography is required reading and lays bare some of the more disturbing aspects of modern rugby
Difficult to put down . . . enjoyable and thought-provoking in equal measure
Planet Rugby