All Blacks: Wayne Barnes regrets forward pass in World Cup quarter-final

English referee Wayne Barnes.
English referee Wayne Barnes. Photo credit: Photosport

English rugby referee Wayne Barnes acknowledges an error that cost the All Blacks during the 2007 World Cup quarter-finals was the "most high-profile mistake" of his career.

Barnes missed a blatant forward pass thrown by French first-five Frederic Michalak to Yannick Jauzion, which resulted in a game-winning try in the All Blacks' 20-18 loss in Cardiff.

The result was New Zealand's earliest exit from a Rugby World Cup.

Speaking to BT Sport, Barnes was asked if there were any decisions he regretted during his career- and the 39-year-old said there was one that stood out.

"I think, perhaps the most high-profile mistake was in 2007, when there was a forward pass in the lead-up to a French try against New Zealand," said Barnes. "The fallout from that was pretty huge.

"I think I was voted the third most-hated man in New Zealand that year, so it was pretty impressive.

"As a referee, you never want to be in the headlines and whenever you are, whether you're right or wrong, that's not what you're there for."

On the flip side, Barnes said games involving the All Blacks had also seen some of the best moments in his career.

"I was lucky enough to take charge of New Zealand vs Ireland over in the Aviva Stadium back in November and that was a special atmosphere that day. There was something very special before the match and obviously during the match.

"There was a real sense of occasion to that game."

Barnes is set to retire from refereeing after the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, ending a 16-year career with the whistle.

He plans to give more time to his other job - a barrister specialising in bribery and corruption - and spend more time with his young family.