Experienced referee John Wright is set to control his 250th McNamara Cup match on Saturday when he officiates the Patumahoe v Pukekohe match at Patumahoe Domain.
Wright began his refereeing career in Auckland in 1994 before making the move to Counties Manukau in 1997.
His first premier game came in 1998 when he controlled the Ardmore Marist v Waiuku match at the Aerodrome.
A teacher by trade, Wright’s introduction to refereeing came almost by chance.
“Through PE teaching and helping coach a school 7th grade rugby team,” he explained. “No referees turned up so they put me on as I was the youngest and fittest.”
Three decades later, Wright has become one of the region’s most successful referees and has been in charge in some big games.
“Steelers pre-season games v Northland, King Country, Toyota (Japan) and a visiting Fijian team in 2003-05,” he said. “McNamara Cup Finals 2016-2018. World Cup Qualifying tri series between Cook Islands, Niue and Tahiti in 2006.
“Also was a TMO in the 2014 Junior U20 World Cup in NZ.”
While he has packed a lot into his career, Wright has no intention of calling it quits and hanging up the whistle anytime soon.
He still has an ambition to do more.
“To keep refereeing at a high standard and keep enjoying the game. Help other referees develop their games to referee better.
“That is one of the things I enjoy most - the challenge of keeping the game going by letting players play within the Laws of the game and helping to showcase Counties Manukau's talent to move on to become Steelers.
“I have had great support from the Referees Association to develop my talents as a referee. I always watch my other referees before my game to develop camaraderie amongst the referees at the game.”
Counties Manukau Rugby Referee and Community Projects Manager Brandon Roberts paid tribute to Wright’s ongoing service and success.
“John, on behalf of the CMRRA, CMRFU, all the CM clubs and schools, and the wider rugby community we congratulate you on this outstanding milestone. More importantly, the game of Rugby and all its participants thank you for your decades of service and enjoyment for our game.
“Go well and enjoy the occasion mate.”
website by 72DPI