whistle blower
The most suave referee in world rugby has retired to pursue business interests
Steve Walsh’s many fans will be disappointed.

STEVE WALSH HAS announced his retirement from refereeing with immediate effect to pursue business interests outside of rugby.

Steve Walsh Billy Stickland / INPHO Walsh was in charge when Ireland beat France in Paris last year. Billy Stickland / INPHO / INPHO

The Australian Rugby Union, whom New Zealand native Walsh has represented in recent years, confirmed that the 43-year-old has retired from all forms of match officiating.

Last weekend’s Six Nations clash between Ireland and Wales was scheduled to be refereed by Walsh, but he was replaced by Wayne Barnes after a late withdrawal.

Walsh has been involved in four World Cups after making his international debut in 1998 and has overseen 60 Test matches, making him the third-most capped international referee of all time.

The Kiwi officiated Ireland’s Six Nations-clinching win over France in Paris last year, ruling out a French try in the dying stages after Pascal Papé’s pass went forward.

Walsh was sidelined by the International Rugby Board [now World Rugby] in 2005 after a run-in with Irish wing Shane Horgan during that year’s Lions tour. The referee verbally abused the Leinster man after Horgan questioned his decision on a knock-on.

Steve Walsh James Crombie / INPHO Walsh has been the best-looking referee in the world for some time. James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

“I have lived my dream and I am truly grateful for every experience that I have had in rugby. It’s been an incredible journey,” said Walsh.

“I would be doing all of the key stakeholders in the game – from officials to the players to the fans – an injustice if I was unable to 100% channel my energies and devote my full attention towards refereeing Super Rugby and Test matches. I would not want my new focus to impact the integrity of the competitions in which I am involved.

“I will be forever indebted to Australian rugby for including me so openly following a difficult period for me personally.

“I would also like to acknowledge my time with New Zealand Rugby. Their decision to end my contract in 2009 was challenging, but was ultimately the best thing that has ever happened in my life. It made me confront who I was and how I carried myself.”

We’ll miss you, Steve.

Gelbinator / YouTube

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