Paul Honiss has announced his retirement from international refereeing with immediate effect.
Since making his Test debut in an IRB Rugby World Cup qualifier between Tahiti and the Cook Islands in 1997, Honiss went on to become one of the world's leading Test referees and a key member of the IRB's Elite Referee Panel.
In 2006 he became New Zealand's most-capped Test referee, overhauling Paddy O'Brien's total of 37 Tests.
Honiss broke Welshman Derek Bevan's record of 44 internationals to become the world's most-capped referee when he took charge of the Rugby World Cup 2007 bronze final between France and Argentina at Parc des Princes in Paris.
His last appointment as a referee came on Saturday 5 July 2008 for the match between Australia and France at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
O’Brien, now IRB Referee Manager, was full of praise for Honiss’ contribution to the game.
“Paul is going to be a big loss to international rugby. He is current world record holder for the number of rugby internationals refereed. He has been involved in three Rugby World Cups and that experience cannot be replaced overnight.
“Paul epitomised professionalism. He was the ultimate team player and from a personal point of view I will miss his leadership within the elite panel.”
- Tuesday 21 October 2014 - Europe
The power of rugby to break down borders
- Monday 20 October 2014 - RWC 2015
All Blacks improve rankings total
- Monday 20 October 2014 - Press Releases
Olympic Sevens panel announced for #IRBConfEx
- Monday 20 October 2014 - Americas
Jaguars sign off in style at ARC
- Saturday 18 October 2014 - RWC 2015
Los Teros begin countdown to Cardiff
- 21 October - Jonny Wilkinson on life after rugby
- 20 October - Australia player Emilee Cherry looks ahead to the start of the Women's Sevens World Series
- 18 October - Cameron Clark on playing for Australia sevens
- 17 October - Sweden's Jennifer Sundqvist on 30 years of Women's rugby in the country
- 17 October - Gold Coast Sevens review
- Listen to this week's Total Rugby show
- 15 October - Martin Johnson's 'Tackle These'
- 14 October - Martin Johnson and Chris Robshaw on leadership
- 13 October - Uruguay's reaction to securing a place in Rugby World Cup Pool A
- 13 October - Russia's reaction to missing out on Rugby World Cup 2015