André Watson

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André Watson
Watson at the 2003 RWC.
Date of birth (1958-04-24) 24 April 1958 (age 60)
Place of birth Germiston, South Africa
Refereeing career
Years Competition Apps

Super Rugby
5 Nations Championship
6 Nations Championship
Tri Nations Championship
The Rugby World Cup
Total Tests


André Jacobus Watson (born 24 April 1958) is a South African former rugby union referee. He officiated a record number of finals in the Rugby World Cup (two), the Currie Cup (seven) and Super Rugby (five).[1][2][3][4]



Watson was born in Germiston, Transvaal and attended school at Maria van Riebeeck Primary and Goudrif High School. He later attended Stellenbosch University and the University of the Witwatersrand before working as an engineer.[5]

Playing career

As a youth Watson played representative rugby for Transvaal Schools XV. While studying at university he played for Stellenbosch University and the University of the Witwatersrand.[6]

Refereeing career

He took up refereeing in 1987, becoming a full-time referee in 1995.[6][7]

Provincial rugby

During his career he refereed 100 Currie Cup matches including seven cup finals which, as of 2010, is the most by a referee.[1][2]

Watson refereed five Super Rugby finals which is a current record.[3]

International rugby

He made his international debut in 1996 in a match between Australia and Canada. Watson refereed the first of two Rugby World Cup finals when he took charge of the 1999 Rugby World Cup Final between Australia and France in Cardiff.[8]

His second World Cup final was the 2003 Rugby World Cup Final between Australia and England in Sydney.[9] He remains the only referee to have officiated in two finals.[4]

He announced his retirement prior to the July 2004 match between Australia and the Pacific Islanders.[10] He made a comeback three months later, refereeing the first match of the qualification round for 2007 Rugby World Cup between Andorra and Norway.[11]

Post-refereeing career

He is currently the Manager of Referees for the South African Rugby Union.[12]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Currie Cup Individual Records". Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Currie Cup Final referees". Rugby 365. Primedia Online. Retrieved 1 September 2011. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Super Rugby Final Referees & match officials". Sports Digital Media. 7 July 2011. Retrieved 1 September 2011. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "A chance to become a ref". SA Rugby Referees. Retrieved 5 September 2011. "André Watson remains the only referee to have blown the whistle in two Rugby World Cup finals" 
  5. "Andre Watson". ESPN Scrum. ESPN EMEA Ltd. Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Andre Watson". News24. 1 October 2003. Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  7. "Yearbook 2008 - Andre Watson". South African Sports and Arts Hall of Fame. Retrieved 1 September 2011. 
  8. "Referees around the World, K-Z". Rugby 365. Primedia Online. Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  9. "Watson honoured again". SA Rugby Referees. 26 February 2009. Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  10. "Top rugby ref Watson to hang up his whistle". ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 29 June 2004. Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  11. Souster, Mark (29 June 2004). "Watson back from retirement to referee in Andorra". The Times. Retrieved 6 August 2004. 
  12. Lemmer, Craig (4 August 2011). "Three SA refs selected for RWC". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 1 September 2011. 
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