20 Mar 2015

Referee Steve Walsh quits rugby

11:40 am on 20 March 2015

The Australia-based New Zealand rugby referee Steve Walsh has retired from all forms of match officiating with immediate effect.

The 43-year-old is to pursue business interests outside of rugby.

England captain Chris Robshaw in discussion with New Zealand referee Steve Walsh

England captain Chris Robshaw in discussion with New Zealand referee Steve Walsh Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Walsh made his Super Rugby refereeing debut in 1997 and took charge of a Test match for the first time a year later when Argentina played France and has refereed 56 Tests, making him the third most-capped international referee of all-time.

He has been involved in four Rugby World Cups.

Walsh says he would be doing all of the key stakeholders in the game - from officials to the players to the fans - an injustice if he was unable to 100 percent channel his energies and devote his full attention towards refereeing Super Rugby and Test matches.

Walsh had his contract with the New Zealand Rugby Union terminated in 2009 after some personal issues and moved to Australia.

He says he will be forever indebted to Australian Rugby for including him so openly following a difficult period for him personally.

Walsh says he'd also like to acknowledge his time with New Zealand Rugby. He says their decision to end his contract was challenging, but was ultimately the best thing that ever happened in his life as it made him confront who he was and how he carried himself.

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