Stuart Barnes
Stuart Barnes.JPG
Date of birth (1962-11-22) 22 November 1962 (age 59)
Place of birthGrays, Essex, England
Height5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)
Weight86 kg (13 st 8 lb)[1]
SchoolBassaleg School
UniversitySt Edmund Hall, University of Oxford
Occupation(s)Sports Commentator
Rugby union career
Position(s) Fly-half
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
Newport RFC
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
British and Irish Lions

Stuart Barnes (born 22 November 1962 in Grays, Essex)[2] is a former English rugby union footballer, and now rugby commentator for Sky Sports. Barnes played fly-half for Newport RFC, Bristol, Bath; and represented England at international level.


Although born in Essex, he played his schoolboy international rugby for Wales Schools.[3]

Such was his speed and talent, he made the leap from the U15s to the U19s after one season, and became an ever-present (he didn't miss a schools international for four years between 1976 & 1980), also captaining the team on several occasions.

Barnes studied at St Edmund Hall, University of Oxford, where he won three rugby Blues.[citation needed] He played for Oxford against Cambridge University's Rob Andrew in the Varsity match.[4] He graduated from Oxford with a third-class honours degree in history.[5]

Club career

While at University, Barnes played club rugby for Newport RFC. He matriculated in 1981.[6]

Barnes later played for Bristol, including in the 1984 RFU final against Bath Rugby. After being on the losing side for Bristol in that final, he was to join Bath.[7]

He arrived at Bath aged 22: "disaffected with England and, with my volatile character, I could easily have drifted out of the game altogether. At the time the big joke was that I'd had more clubs than Jack Nicklaus – Newport, Bristol and Bath by 22 and people doubted my character, they thought of me as being very fickle and at Bath I found what I wanted – a rugby home.".[8]

International career

Barnes made his England debut against Australia in November 1984. He gained ten caps for England and played his last international match in 1993 against Ireland.[2]

Barnes played for the Barbarians against Wales in October 1990, converting three tries in the Barbarians victory.[9]

Life after playing

Barnes' last game was the Bath versus Leicester Pilkington Cup Final on 7 May 1994, which Bath won 21–9. He resigned from the Bristol and West building society shortly afterwards. Barnes became a freelance writer and reporter for the Telegraph, and wrote his autobiography Smelling of Roses.[8]

He later became involved in broadcasting, firstly with the BBC,[3] and then joined Sky Sports in 1994.[4]

Personal life

He was nicknamed The Bath Barrel.[10]


  1. ^ "History - the History of the British & Irish Lions".
  2. ^ a b "Stuart Barnes: England". Sporting Heroes. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Stuart Barnes". ESPN Scrum. ESPN. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Varsity magazine 25 November 2005 (see page 19)" (PDF). Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  5. ^ Glover, Tim (7 November 2004). "Stuart Barnes: The voice of rugby says 'I've watched every minute of every match'". The Independent. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016.
  6. ^ "Notable Alumni – St Edmund Hall".
  7. ^ "The Eighties". History. Bath Rugby Official Site. Archived from the original on 21 October 2011. Retrieved 23 October 2011.
  8. ^ a b " – ERE Met Stuart Barnes In January 1994". 1 January 2006. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
  9. ^ "Wales v Barbarians: Full record". BBC. 12 July 2010. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
  10. ^ " – Leinster Snatch Victory From Bath". 9 January 2005. Retrieved 4 September 2011.