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.”
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