Lawrence takes new IRB role

Lawrence moves to the IRB

Thu, 20 Mar 2008 09:39

Keith Lawrence, the man who manages New Zealand’s top referees, is moving to the International Rugby Board, still working with top referees.

Where he was New Zealand’s “High Performance Referee Manager” he will now be the Referee Manager for the IRB’s World Sevens Series and the IRB’s Pacific Nations Cup. He will start his new job in July.

This increases New Zealand’s influence in the IRB’s refereeing set-up, as the manager of referees, Paddy O’Brien is also a New Zealander and is based in Invercargill.

Lawrence had a great career as a referee himself. In days when there were far fewer top matches he refereed 13 Tests between 1985 and 1991, starting with Australia vs Canada and ending with Wales vs Australia at the World Cup.  He refereed at the inaugural World Cup as well, notably the match between Australia and England. In 1989 he refereed a Test between Australia and the British Isles.

Lawrence, a primary school teacher, became a first class referee in 1971 and in all refereed 99 first class matches up to his retirement from active refereeing in 1992. In 1995, with the advent of professional rugby he became a referees development officer (RD), based in the Hawke’s Bay area.

Bryce Lawrence, Keith’s son, has followed a similar path – schoolmaster turned referee but in the professional era which means that he is a full-time referee with far more chances to swan around the world.

NZRU Chief Executive Steve Tew paid tribute to Lawrence for his service as a referee and referee manager, and also as a valued adviser and colleague within the NZRU during a period of significant change in New Zealand rugby history.

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