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Rugby Development: Referees

International Referees

Nigel Owens - Ireland V England

Ever since Mr D Herbert officiated the Wales v England game way back in 1882, Welsh referees have always been at the forefront of the international game.

The highly respected Gwynne Walters made his international debut in 1959 and was frequently asked to officiate at the Varsity match. He was followed on the international scene in the mid sixties by referees of the calibre of Meirion Joseph.

Clive Norling took charge of his first international in 1978 and went on to officiate in many high profile matches. Derek Bevan proved consistently to be one of the top referees in the world following his elevation to the international game. He refereed the 1991 World Cup final between England and Australia. Four years later he was the official in the 1995 semi-final between South Africa and France and followed that four years later with an appearance at the same stage when taking centre stage for the Australia v South Africa semi-final.

Bevan held the record for most caps - 44 - when he retired from international rugby in 2000. His record remained intact until Nigel Owens surpassed it in 2013 with his 45th cap when officiating the clash between New Zealand and France.

Leighton Hodges is the most recent Welsh referee to join the elite ranks when he was in charge of two Tests in the 2012/13 season.

Among the 55 Welsh international referees there are eight who played for Wales (Charles Lewis, Horace Lyne, William Phillips, Billy Douglas, Tom Williams, Harry Bowen, Gwyn Nicholls and Tommy Vile); two who acted as treasurer of the Union (Richard Mullock and Williams Wilkins); one who was secretary (Richard Mullock) and five who became President (Horace Lyne, Tommy Vile, Wilf Faull, Vernon Parfitt and Gwilym Treharne). More recently, Ken Rowlands, Clive Norling and Rob Yeman worked as Referee's Manager for the WRU.

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