Full name Stuart James Dickinson
Born July 19, 1968, Sydney, NSW
Current age 48 years 39 days
There might not be a more experienced referee in world rugby than Stuart Dickinson.
Indeed, the Australian's career essentially started at the age of 12 when he begun taking charge of local under-age games whilst he still had aspirations of making it as a player.
It would be 24 years, though, before Dickinson was taken on by the Australian Rugby Union as a full-time referee, allowing him to quit his jobs with the transport company LinFox and the New South Wales Police Force.
Within a year he was officiating at Test level, with his first assignment the clash between Tahiti and Papua New Guinea.
Grander occasions were to follow and after proving his mettle in successfully handling Wales' clash with South Africa at Wembley in 1998 and New Zealand's meeting with France the following year, Dickinson was chosen by the International Rugby Board to officiate at the 1999 World Cup, with the most high-profile of the three games which he was awarded the quarter-final play-off between Ireland and Argentina in Lens.
He went on to officiate in the next two tournaments with some distinction although he made himself very unpopular with England fans when, in his role as the Television Match Official, he ruled out a 'try' for Mark Cueto in the 2007 World Cup final defeat by South Africa.
Dickinson generated further controversy two years later with his performance in Italy's Test against New Zealand in Milan. IRB referees manager Paddy O'Brien revealed that he felt that Dickinson had wrongly misinterpreted what was going on in a succession of scrums during the game. O'Brien later apologised for going public with his criticism but it is believed that Dickinson was enraged by the whole incident.
However, in spite of this, Dickinson remains one of the most respected officials in world rugby today.
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