Angus Gardner - Referee of the Year
At their sparkling awards function in Monaco on Sunday evening, 25 November 2018, Angus Gardner of Australia was named World Rugby’s Referee of the Year for 2018.
Gardener, known to friends as Gus, is a Sydneysider – born there 34 years ago and educated there – at Shore (full name Sydney Church of England Grammar School), a Great Public School, and at the University of Technology, has had a year of great development after starting 19 years ago when still at Shore.
His first Test match was on 19 November 2011 – Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu in Port Moresby; in November 2018 he refereed England vs South Africa at Twickenham.
In 2012, he refereed his first Super Rugby match; in 2018 he refereed the final in Christchurch between the Crusaders and the Lions.
Now he has refereed 61 Super Rugby matches and 13 Tests. He is acknowledged as one of the world’s top referees.
The award is relatively new. In fact it is just the fourth time it has been made. The first award was to Nigel Owens in 2015, the second to Rasta Rasivhenge and Alhambra Nievas, the referees for the two Olympic Sevens finals in 2016, and then Joy Neville of Ireland in 2017.
Before the introduction of the award to the Referee of the Year, the award was made for services to refereeing. The first award was to Ed Morrison, the referee in the 1995 World Cup Final and was in charge of England’s elite referees. Mostly there were top referees who had retired and were adding to refereeing, men like Paddy O’Brien and André Watson.
The choice of Gardner this year could well serve as encouragement to many others to stick at the job, always trying to be perfect.