IRB end ref Walsh's elite exile

2010-09-29 18:50

Dublin - Controversial referee Steve Walsh's two-year exile from the highest level of the game is set to come to an end after the International Rugby Board (IRB) announced on Thursday he would be in charge for Wales's match against world champions South Africa in November.

The native New Zealander was effectively frozen out of top-level fixtures after turning up drunk to a conference of leading southern hemisphere referees in Sydney in 2008.

A year later, Walsh was stood down by the New Zealand Rugby Union.

But the 38-year-old has since revived his whistle-blowing career in Australia.

Now, as well as Wales's clash with the Springboks at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on November 13, Walsh is also set to take charge of Scotland's match against Samoa at Aberdeen football club's Pittodrie ground on November 27.

However, his career in Australia has not been without controversy with Walsh so heavily criticised by the Wallabies' Matt Giteau for his role in the Brumbies loss to domestic Super 14 rivals the Waratahs in April, he was replaced as referee for the Brumbies' next match.

Walsh returned to the international stage in the low profile Pacific Nations Cup match between Japan and Samoa in June but the Wales-South Africa clash will be Walsh's first 'tier one' fixture since February 2008.

"It is good to see Steve Walsh return to the international referee panel," said IRB referees' manager Paddy O'Brien, the New Zealander adding Walsh had "impressed the selectors" and "deserved his reward".

Ireland's Alain Rolland, the 2007 World Cup final referee, will be the man in the middle when New Zealand face Australia in the fourth Bledisloe Cup match to be played in Hong Kong on October 30.

That fixture heralds the start of a busy period for international rugby union, with both the All Blacks and the Springboks involved in tours of Britain and Ireland in November.


  • lefty - 2010-09-29 20:00

    Welkom terug Steve! Nooit gedink ek sal dit se nie, maar na die wedstryde wat ek jou vanjaar sien blaas het, steek jy nie af by enige van die ander elite manne nie - ons eie Kaplans, Jouberts ens.

  • Mert - 2010-09-29 20:13

    I will always trust a man who takes a pint , welcome back Steve !!

  • clint - 2010-09-29 20:17

    Welcome back Steve, I'll have your beer for you. Seems the IRB can't wait to kick the Boks when they are down.

  • Duck - 2010-09-29 20:48

    Give that man a Bells!!!

  • dead man running - 2010-09-29 22:23

    I reckon the Springboks & SA super rugby sides were often short changed by Steve, but I have to admit he is a good ref.and he is not half as bad as as Matt Giteau's dead ball kicking - this guy must be the worst placement ball kicker in International rugby, lost the 2nd test against England by missing a penalty at the death, then his ratio of two out five against the NZ in the last Tri-nations meant Aus lost by a point. Giteau should practice his kicking instead of criticizing refs

  • Malcolm - 2010-09-29 23:00

    Just keep him away from the Sharks! Now I know he was drunk when he missed a host of Bulls transgressions in the dying seconds of THAT final...

  • anon - 2010-09-29 23:15

    This Narna gives beer a bad name.

  • RONNIE SHIBOBO - 2010-09-30 02:42

    bly net weg van die lions games

  • Shaun - 2010-09-30 08:57

    In my opinion Steve is not a very good ref. His bad decisons have always lead to the wrong team winning the game. The Bulls supporters will be happy to see him again. That is the only way they win games is when the ref turns a blind eye to their transgressions.

  • Douglas - 2010-09-30 10:00

    What of his pathetic handling of the Sharks vs Blue Bulls Super 14 Final in Durban a few years ago. Thanks to Tit Walsh it was the Bulls instead of the Sharks that ended up winning the title.I wonder if he was sober on the day!

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