New Zealand referee Steve Walsh has once again been suspended by the International Rugby Board (IRB).
Walsh was punished for verbal exchanges with Irish winger Shane Horgan during the British & Irish Lions’ tour match against Taranaki in June.
The Lions made an official complaint about Walsh’s behaviour and he has already been reprimanded by the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU).
Walsh endured a similar ban during the 2003 World Cup and is now the only member of the IRB’s 23-man referee panel who will not be involved in the various Test series taking place around the world in the coming months.
NZRU deputy chief executive Steve Tew stated the IRB’s ruling follows sanctions from his own organisation.
"We assessed the situation and some appropriate action has been taken, which I can’t go into because it involves private employment details," he told The New Zealand Herald.
"We will continue to support him – we just don’t want this to happen again."
North Harbour-based Walsh will oversee the NPC Division One final between Auckland and Otago, with his next Test appointment the RBS 6 Nations game between Wales and Scotland in Cardiff on February 12.
"I have to cop it sweet," said Walsh. "That’s the way it is and I have to get on with my life."