International rugby on Valentine’s Day, is a feature that pops up every now and then due to the seasonal location of the Six Nations calendar.
This year the French, surely one of the most romantic rugby nations, both on and off the field, face Ireland in Dublin.
Now Valentine’s Day holds a special significance for Phillipe Sella and myself, we were both born on this romantic day of days. Sadly that is where all my similarities with the legendary French centre end.
Cards of course are an essential part of the Valentine occasion, and it provides me with a very tenuous link to those of the yellow variety.
The referees selected for the 2021 Guinness Six Nations tournament have differing degrees of generosity with the brandishing of the yellow peril, but top of the charts is Wayne Barnes, who has given Clintons a run for their money with regard to dishing out cards.
Valentine’s Day in the Barnes household could be an interesting one, as Wayne’s wife Polly awaits a romantic missive from her husband, hoping for an elegant card with a lovely verse, she may well end up with just plain yellow one for hinging at the coffee machine, or coming into the garden from the side, rather than through the gate.
The World’s top referee has issued more yellow cards in the Guinness Six Nations than any other official, this of course is mainly due to his longevity having refereed 22 championship matches over a period of 15 years.
He will however be in the Emerald Isle this Valentine’s Day, as an assistant referee at the Aviva, his 24th as an AR in the Six Nations, and the French connection will continue when he takes charge of France v Scotland in Paris on Feb 28.
Wayne’s yellow pages directory includes some of the greats of the game:
Only 4 Six Nations red cards have been issued by the class of 2021, two by the South African whistle blower Jaco Peyper, when he dismissed Rabah Slimani and Michele Rizzo in the 71st minute of the France v Italy match in Paris in 2014.
The third red was issued last Sunday, by none other than Wayne himself, in Cardiff, when Peter O’Mahoney was given his marching orders in the 14th minute of Wales victory over Ireland.
And then yesterday just as I had finished this article Matt Carley produced a red out of his pocket for Zander Fagerson of Scotland, in the second half of the match against Wales, which the men in red won by the narrowest of margins 25-24.
Allan Lewis of Ireland, former international referee, holds the record for the most yellow cards issued in a match, when he handed out 5 during the France v Italy match in 2002. He almost repeated the feat in 2002 when he issued 4 in Rome during Italy v England.
Yellow is the most luminous of all the colors of the spectrum. It’s the color that captures our attention more than any other color.
In the natural world, yellow is the color of sunflowers and daffodils, egg yolks and lemons, canaries and bees. In our contemporary human-made world, yellow is the color of Sponge Bob, the Tour de France winner’s jersey, happy faces, post its, and signs that alert us to danger or caution.
As for cards, yellow is quite appropriate, whilst it is the color of happiness, and optimism, enlightenment, creativity and sunshine, there is also the dark side of yellow, which portrays cowardice, betrayal, egoism, and madness.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.