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Rugby's greatest referees inducted into RugbyPass Hall of Fame

By Sam Smith
(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

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The 17th wave of inductees into the RugbyPass Hall of Fame has been revealed with the finest referees to ever grace the game recognised on Tuesday.

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Home to the greatest rugby icons of all-time, the RugbyPass Hall of Fame acknowledges and recognises the outstanding efforts of the trailblazers from the amateur era through to the global stars who light up the sport to this day.

The amalgamation of rugby’s top players, coaches and referees from the amateur and professional eras has been reflected in the RugbyPass Hall of Fame’s last induction announcement, from which 15 of rugby’s best officials have been unveiled as inductees.

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Among the new inductees includes five referees who have officiated World Cup finals, one of whom – Andre Watson of South Africa – is the only referee to have ever called the whistle in two World Cup finals.

Watson was the man in the middle in both the 1999 and 2003 World Cup finals, and was succeeded by Alain Rolland of Ireland in 2007, Craig Joubert of South Africa in 2011, Nigel Owens of Wales in 2015 and Jerome Garces of France in 2019.

Furthermore, Watson was awarded the IRB Referee Award for Distinguished Service in 2008, an award that has also been won by fellow RugbyPass Hall of Fame inductee Paddy O’Brien of New Zealand in 2005.

Owens, meanwhile, was crowned World Rugby Referee Award in 2015, an award also won by fellow inductee Angus Gardner of Australia in 2018 and Wayne Barnes of England in 2019.

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Others to be admitted into the RugbyPass Hall of Fame are South African duo Jonathan Kaplan and Jaco Peyper, Kiwi pair Steve Walsh and Ben O’Keefe, French whistleblower Romain Poite, English official Chris White and Irish official JP Doyle.

Of all those included in the RugbyPass Hall of Fame, only the players with the most votes in each position will make the Fan 1st XV, a team made up of only the best players ever to have played rugby.

The door remains open for other players to become RugbyPass Hall of Famers, so register now to have your say and vote for your favourite inductee in the Fan 1st XV.

Current RugbyPass Hall of Fame Fan 1st XV

1. Os du Randt (South Africa, 1994-2007)
2. Sean Fitzpatrick (New Zealand, 1986-1997)
3. Owen Franks (New Zealand, 2009-2019)
4. Eben Etzebeth (South Africa, 2012-present)
5. Victor Matfield (South Africa, 2001-2015)
6. Jerome Kaino (New Zealand, 2004-2017)
7. Richie McCaw (New Zealand, 2001-2015)
8. Mamuka Gorgodze (Georgia, 2003-2019)
9. Aaron Smith (New Zealand, 2012-present)
10. Dan Carter (New Zealand, 2003-2015)
11. Jonah Lomu (New Zealand, 1994-2002)
12. Ma’a Nonu (New Zealand, 2003-2015)
13. Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland, 1999-2014)
14. Doug Howlett (New Zealand, 2000-2007)
15. Christian Cullen (New Zealand, 1996-2002)

Coach: Rassie Erasmus (South Africa)
Referee: 21.12.2021
Stadium: 22.12.2021

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