New Zealand ref Bryce Lawrence out of elite list

Last updated 16:43 26/07/2012

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Controversial New Zealand referee Bryce Lawrence won't be controlling any test matches in the foreseeable future.

Lyndon Bray, Sanzar's refereeing boss, told South Africa's Eyewitness News Sport that Lawrence's refusal to travel to South Africa had meant he had fallen out of favour at the sport's top level.

Lawrence was widely criticised for his handling of the Springboks' World Cup quarter-final loss to Australia in Wellington at last year's tournament.

Lawrence allegedly received threats from the republic and hasn't refereed there during this year's Super Rugby championship.

Bray confirmed Lawrence had been dropped from the IRB's elite panel of referees after handling 25 tests since 2005.

"There's a decision that we as selectors in the IRB made back in March. His time is over at that level," Bray said.

"At this stage he is clearly not on the team. His challenge would be, if it's possible, to find his way back again. And I think given the reality and what he's gone through and the situation he's in at the moment that would be a huge ask."

Bray is on the IRB's five-man committee that selects the game's top whistlemen.

Lawrence missed out on the nine-man elite panel that officiated during the June internationals and his name is absent from the list of referees who will be involved in the inaugural Rugby Championship involving the All Blacks, Wallabies, Springboks and Pumas that kicks off on August 18.

Interestingly no New Zealand referees will control any of the 13 matches that also includes the third and final Bledisloe Cup fixture in Brisbane on October 20.

Australia has Steve Walsh refereeing two matches while South Africans Craig Joubert and Jaco Peyper have also been handed whistle jobs.

Glen Jackson (assistant referee) and Vinnie Munro (TMO) are the only New Zealand referees with roles in the tournament.

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