Horgan incensed by abuse from Walsh
July 10, 2005

New Zealand rugby referee Steve Walsh delivered a "volley of invective" at Lions wing Shane Horgan, who had to be restrained by his teammates, it was reported today.

The Observer newspaper's Eddie Butler wrote that Walsh incensed Horgan and his Lions teammates with his displays as touch judge against Taranaki and referee against New Zealand Maori.

The trouble started when Horgan was called for a knock-on against Taranaki on June 8, on touch judge Walsh's advice.

"Horgan, returning to his position, told Walsh that he had kicked the ball, not knocked it on. Whereupon Walsh unleashed a volley of invective at Horgan," Butler wrote.

"So incensed was the Irishman that a meeting was held between the Lions and Walsh a day or two later.

"Walsh was contrition itself and, having had a run-in with England fitness coach Dave Reddin at the 2003 World Cup, recognised this propensity to launch verbal assaults at players as a weakness."

But things worsened several days later against New Zealand Maori in Hamilton, Butler wrote.

"Before Horgan had even touched the ball Walsh gave him the sign of snapping fingers and thumb aimed at someone who has been talking out of turn.

"In the Lions changing room afterwards it was all they could do to stop Horgan from going to the referee's room to exchange more than just frank views with Walsh."

Butler wrote the article after an interview with Lions coach Clive Woodward, which suggested Woodward had verified the story.

"If I had my time again, I would insist on neutral referees," Woodward was quoted as saying.

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