Wallabies nemesis back from exile - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wallabies nemesis back from exile

30/09/2010 06:35:02 AM Comments (0)

Controversial referee Steve Walsh's two-year exile from top level rugby union is over after the International Rugby Board announced he would be in charge for Wales's match against world champions South Africa in November.

So often the Wallabies nemesis, Walsh has not been without controversy in Australia with Matt Giteau once criticising his role in an ACT Brumbies loss to Super 14 rivals NSW so heavily that Walsh was replaced as referee for the Brumbies' next match.

But it wasn't until the native New Zealander turned up drunk to a conference of leading southern hemisphere referees in Sydney in 2008 that he was effectively frozen out at the top level of the game.

But two years later Walsh has two fixtures on the horizon.

As well as Wales's clash with the Springboks at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff in November, he is also set to take charge of Scotland's November clash against Samoa.

The 38-year-old returned to the international stage in the low profile Pacific Nations Cup match between Japan and Samoa in June but the Wales-South Africa clash will be Walsh's first 'tier one' fixture since February 2008.

IRB referees' manager Paddy O'Brien said Walsh had "impressed the selectors" and "deserved his reward".

"It is good to see Steve Walsh return to the international referee panel," O'Brien said.

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