11 Nov 2008

Top rugby referee retires

6:41 pm on 11 November 2008

The Hawke's Bay rugby referee Kelvin Deaker has announced his retirement from the game.

43-year-old Deaker made his National Referee Squad debut in 1996 and in total refereed 177 first class games, including 23 Test matches.

In a unique coincidence both his first and last Tests in charge involved Japan in Tokyo - the first against Wales in 2001 and the last against Fiji in June this year.

Deaker's career highlights include officiating at the 2003 and 2007 Rugby World Cups, refereeing in the Six Nations and taking charge of the 1999 Air New Zealand NPC final between Auckland and Wellington.