New Zealand's rugby Test referees to be capped in Auckland

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The 86 referees who have reached Test level will be acknowledged with a presentation of caps to those still living and for families of those deceased. Seven women's referees are included.


Over 40 former Test referees are expected to attend the function to be held at Eden Park on the eve of the final Lipovitan-D Rugby Championship Test between the All Blacks and Australia.


While New Zealand played its first Test in 1903 against Australia, 11 years after the formation of the New Zealand Rugby Football Union, William 'Gun' Garrard achieved a double honour when became the first New Zealander to referee a Test when controlling the first Test between Australia and Britain on June 24, 1899.


That made him the first New Zealand referee to be a neutral referee, something that has been common since the International Rugby Board moved to neutral referees for all Test matches around the world.


Garrard had been in Sydney attending a referees' conference when he was invited to referee the Test. It was the only international appointment of his career. He later became secretary of the Canterbury Rugby Union and was made a life member of the CRU.



Until 1978, all home Tests in New Zealand were controlled by local referees, but from that time appointments in all men's Test matches were as referees from neutral countries. It was the 21st Century before similar policies were introduced for the expanding women's game.


Paul Honiss, who refereed between 1997-2008, has controlled most Tests with 46, while Paddy O'Brien had 37, Steve Walsh 35, Glen Jackson and Ben O'Keeffe had 32 Tests.


O'Keeffe is still refereeing, and others are Paul Williams (24), Brendon Pickerill (nine), James Doleman (five).


Nicky Inwood is New Zealand's most capped women's referee having controlled 32 Tests between 2002-14. The former Black Fern was also the first woman to referee a Test at Twickenham and the first New Zealand to control a Six Nations Test.


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