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Romain Poite's unique wit will be missed when he retires from Test rugby

BY Stephen Brunsdon  ·  Friday Nov 5, 2021

Popular French referee Romain Poite will officiate his final international match this weekend, bringing to an end a 15-year career.

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Poite, who sits as the third most experienced referee in the international game behind Wayne Barnes and Nigel Owens, will still continue to referee in club rugby, but this weekend’s match between Scotland and Australia at Murrayfield will be the last time we see Poite on the international arena.

Starting with Morocco against Namibia in a Rugby World Cup 2007 qualifier match, Poite has gone on to become one of the most respected referees in the game, taking charge of 72 matches throughout his career.

Not without his mistakes, such as the final test match between the Lions and New Zealand in 2017, Poite has overall remained a strong character within the game, and maintains a good sense of humour on and off the pitch. The latter showcased in comical fashion when explaining the rules of the ruck to England’s James Haskell during a Six Nations match with Italy.

World Rugby Vice-Chairman Bernard Laporte said: “On behalf of World Rugby I would like to express my gratitude to Romain Poite. To serve as a test rugby referee for more than 15 years is not easy. He has always been dedicated to being the best he can be on the field, while being a committed and valued team player away from the match. I would like to wish him all the best.”

World Rugby High Performance 15s Match Officials Manager Joël Jutge added: “Romain has been a dedicated and popular member of the World Rugby match officials team for more than 15 years and a superb servant to international match officiating. I would like to wish him all the best as he embarks on a new chapter in his life and thank him for his contribution, both as a match official and mentor to young international referees.”

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Although Poite will remain a referee in the Top 14 and European club competition, his wit, humour and above all else, professionalism will be missed on the international stage.

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