Ireland's disciplinary record with and without Wayne Barnes
Ireland concede more penalties with Wayne Barnes than they have averaged over their last 30 games.
Ireland have conceded 227 penalties over their last 30 games for an average of 7.56 penalties per game, and oddly, Joe Schmidt's side actually concede more penalties when they win compared to when they lose (7.58 penalties conceded over 24 wins compared to 7.5 penalties over six losses).
However, in the four games that Wayne Barnes has officiated since the 2015 Six Nations (Wales 2015 Six Nations - 11, France 2015 Six Nations - 11, Wales 2017 Six Nations - 4 and Scotland 2018 Six Nations - 9) Ireland have conceded 8.75 penalties per game.
Over that 30 game period, Ireland have conceded over 10 penalties just seven times with five wins and two losses.
Incidentally, the most amount of penalties they have conceded over that time has been 12 (Australia second and third Test, England 2018 Six Nations) in which they have won all three games.
By comparison, Ireland have conceded just 5.67 penalties per game when Nigel Owens has officiated their games with the Welsh whistleblower issuing just three penalties against Italy earlier this month, six against France in the opening game of this year's Six Nations and eight against France in last year's Six Nations.
Ireland fly-half Johnny Sexton told reporters on Monday that Ireland need to be extra diligent with Barnes ahead of the New Zealand game this weekend and that they need to be extra vigilant with the English referee.
“It will be up to Joe (Schmidt) and Rory (Best) to figure out how he’s going to go. We have to look hard at our discipline because you can’t give away too many penalties against the All Blacks. If you look over the years, we’ve given a lot of penalties away with him (Barnes). We need to figure out why and rectify that.
“We pride ourselves on our discipline. We are coached to be as disciplined as we can be. We will look at a game and after the game we will get, not in trouble but it will be highlighted where we could have given away penalties.
“So our discipline, on a list of importance, is up there. We’ve come on the wrong side of Wayne Barnes in the past so it’s something we’re going to have to look at even more so this week.
"We try to play by the letter of the law but for whatever reason in certain games we haven’t got that right with him.
“So we really need to have a look at ourselves and see can we be extra vigilant there. We can’t be worried about them because that’s their problem. From our point of view we’ve been penalised a lot by him in the past, more so than any other ref so we really need to be wary of our own discipline this week.”
Former Ireland internationals Kevin McLaughlin and Donncha O'Callaghan acknowledged that Barnes can be tricky to deal with.
"Marginal decisions, he just tends to go against Ireland," McLaughlin told SportsJOE last year. "Everytime I watch him referee Ireland, I know it's going to be tricky."
O'Callaghan added: "Unfortunately, Wayne Barnes...and its always the frustrating thing with Wayne Barnes, he's always right! It's to the letter of the law."