New Zealand referee banned after clash with Lions

New Zealand rugby referee Steve Walsh has been temporarily sidelined by the International Rugby Board after a verbal clash with British and Irish Lions winger Shane Horgan.

Details of the penalty imposed on Walsh are not clear but he will not be involved in any capacity in 22 test matches which will be played in Europe and Argentina next month.

He will control New Zealand's National Provincial Championship final on Saturday but his next international appointment will not be until February.

Walsh clashed with Horgan during the Lions' tour match against Taranaki in New Zealand in June. The referee whistled Horgan for a knock-on and was heard to abuse the Irish player when he questioned the decision.

The Lions officially complained about Walsh's behavior and the IRB imposed a punishment on top of disciplinary action already taken by the New Zealand Rugby Union.

The ban is Walsh's second following his short suspension at the 2003 World Cup in Australia for an altercation with England fitness trainer Dave Reddin, AP reports.

A. A.

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