Referees appointed for DHL NZ Lions Series     07 May 2005    

Paul Honiss will referee two games, the British & Irish Lions opening match against Bay of Plenty and the game against Wellington on June 15, while Kelvin Deaker will referee the Lions matches against Taranaki and Southland.

Steve Walsh will referee the New Zealand Maori clash while Lyndon Bray will officiate in the Lions v Otago game.

All four referees will share touch judge duties for the six matches.

Top referee Paddy O’Brien was not considered due to injury and will be the television match official for the first five Series matches.

The referees join Joel Jutge (France), Andrew Cole (Australia) and Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa) who were last week named as referees for the three Test matches.

NZRU High Performance Referees Manager Keith Lawrence said the selection process for the New Zealand match officials had been thorough.

“The DHL NZ Lions Series promises 11 games of exciting rugby and we have ensured we have the best referees and officials available to us. We’re confident the right choices have been made to help deliver an unforgettable rugby series.”

Referees and officials for the Lions matches against Manawatu and Auckland will be named in due course, as Paddy O’Brien’s recovery is monitored and pending any injuries to referees.

Meanwhile, NZRU Deputy Chief Executive Steve Tew has welcomed Canon New Zealand as the Official Referee Sponsor for the DHL NZ Lions Series.

The sponsorship deal covers all provincial matches and the New Zealand Maori match and will see the referees wear a distinctive white strip with Canon branding.

“Canon is an innovative company and we are pleased to have them join our family of sponsors. Canon has an international presence and their involvement confirms how widespread the interest in these matches will be,” Tew said.

Canon New Zealand Managing Director Tony Wills said the company was excited to be involved with such an iconic rugby series.

“We are delighted to be able to play a part in what promises to be an outstanding series, by supporting the crucial role that referees play in controlling the action on the field.

“Canon has long been a favourite in New Zealand homes and offices and so it is fitting that we have become involved with our nation’s favourite pastime – rugby,” he said.