27 Apr 2009

Long serving tugby ref retires

6:47 pm on 27 April 2009

New Zealand rugby's longest serving professional referee, Steve Walsh, has retired from his job with the NZRU.

This follows an enquiry into an "employment problem" arising from a referees' meeting in Sydney

Walsh refereed his first test match in June 1998 and says while he's enjoyed his time in refereeing immensely he's found the travel and time away from home increasingly hard to deal with.

He hasn't ruled out returning to refereeing at the top level, though.

The NZRU General Manager Professional Rugby Neil Sorense paid tribute to Walsh for his decision to step down, saying he's been an outstanding referee and was world class at his best.

Walsh refereed 212 first class games, including 35 Tests.