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Wed Apr 23 16:04:32 SAST 2014

Bryce kicked off ref's elite panel

Gareth Cotterell | 25 July, 2012 10:180 Comments
Super Rugby Rd 4 - Hurricanes v Highlanders
Referee Bryce Lawrence makes a call during the Super Rugby match between the Hurricanes and the Highlanders at Westpac Stadium on March 17, 2012 in Wellington, New Zealand
Image by: Hagen Hopkins / Getty Images

Sanzar's head of referees Lyndon Bray has confirmed that New Zealand referee Bryce Lawrence will not take charge of test matches anymore.

The International Rugby Board (IRB) removed Lawrence from its elite panel of referees for future test matches, according to EWN Sport.

Lawrence became a hugely unpopular figure in South Africa last year after refereeing the World Cup quarterfinal between the Springboks and Australia. The Wallabies won the match, helped by Lawrence's peculiar calls.

Bray confirmed the news by stating, "His time is over at [test] level." He also added that it "would be a huge ask" for Lawrence to return to the test fold.

Lawrence was not given any Six Nations matches to officiate this year after his poor performance in the Wold Cup - despite being named New Zealand's referee of the year.

Lawrence was also denied a chance to take charge of any matches in South Africa, with Sanzar fearing a public backlash in the rugby-mad country.

Lawrence has even been questioned in his home country this year. Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder lambasted Lawrence for his calls as the TMO during the Super Rugby match against the Hurricanes.

Blackadder criticised Lawrence after two botched calls - both of which led to Hurricanes tries and resulted in a win for the Wellington-based team.

"To me that was not a try. If there was a TMO like rugby league, they wouldn't have allowed it," Blackadder said.

"Even the second one [was dubious], when they had a guy in our defensive line as obstruction."

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