Controversial Referee back on IRB panel

One of the world’s most controversial referees Steve Walsh is back on the international Test rugby panel after a two-year absence and a brief retirement.

The IRB have announced that Walsh will take charge of the match between Wales and South Africa in Cardiff on November the 13th and the Scotland vs Samoa match Aberdeen on Nov. 27.

In between those matches Walsh will run the touchline when Wales host Fiji in Cardiff on November the 19th.

Walsh was seen in action earlier this year when took charge of several Super 14 matches one of which led to Brumbies and Wallabies flyhalf Matt Giteau being fined AUD5000 for questioning whether his team should turn up if Walsh would be in charge.

The matches this November will be his first international matches since the 2008 Six Nations.

Walsh now represents Australia after he moved from New Zealand in order to revive his career as a referee.

The New Zealand Rugby Union dropped Walsh who was at the time their longest serving professional referee after he arrived for a SANZAR conference in 2008 under the influence of alcohol.

When he was representing New Zealand he took charge of 35 Tests starting in 1998, two World Cups, numerous Tri-Nations and Six Nations games, and more than 200 first-class fixtures.

Walsh has never been far from controversy and was suspended for three days at the 2003 World Cup after he clashed with England officials in their match against Samoa which led to the eventual champions briefly having 16 men on the field.

In 2005 Walsh was suspended for four months for verbally abusing Ireland winger Shane Horgan during the 2005 British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand.

Then in 2007 he was given a telling off after his comments to Wales were leaked about how Ireland play.

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