Paul Honiss, the most capped international referee in the history of the game, has retired from international refereeing with immediate effect.
His last match was the Test last Saturday in Brisbane between Australia and France.
He came to that match after a long absence caused first by the serious illness to his wife Rebecca and then to an Achilles’ injury but his refereeing of that Test which has turned out to be his last was splendid.
Honiss, who was born in Hamilton on the North Island, spent some time in Canterbury on the South Island before returning to the Waikato.
He started refereeing in 1983 and refereed his first Test in 1997 – Tahiti vs Cook Islands. That was the year when he became a full-time referee. After that he was at three successive World Cups – 1999, when he arrived late after leaving his passport at home, 2003 and 2007 when he refereed the second-place play-off between Argentina and France. In that match he broke Derek Bevan’s record of 44 Tests.
Honiss has been a particularly neat, fast and fit referee, very clear in all that he does. Paddy O’Brien, who was New Zealand’s most capped referee with 37 Tests and is now the IRB’s referee manager, said of his former colleague: “Paul is going to be a big loss to international rugby. He is current world record holder for the number of rugby internationals refereed. He has been involved in three Rugby World Cups and that experience cannot be replaced overnight.
“Paul epitomised professionalism He was the ultimate team player and from a personal point of view I will miss his leadership within the elite panel.”Tweet