Kerry Fitzgerald

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Kerry Fitzgerald at the start of the 1987 RWC Final.

Kerry Fitzgerald (c. 1948 – 18 December 1991) was an Australian rugby union referee best known for officiating in the first Rugby World Cup Final in 1987.


Refereeing career

Kerry Fitzgerald took up refereeing in 1977, making his international debut in 1984 in a match between New Zealand and Fiji in Suva.[1] He refereed 24 test matches in his career.

For the first Rugby World Cup in 1987 he was one of two Australian referees selected. Fitzgerald created controversy during a semifinal between New Zealand and Wales when he sent off Welsh player Huw Richards after he had been knocked unconscious. He went on to referee the 1987 Rugby World Cup Final|World Cup Final.[1]

Kerry also refereed 886 matches for the Queensland Rugby Referees' Association and 53 Provincial and State matches against touring teams.

Kerry refereed the Brisbane First Grade Grand Final seven times, these being 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1990 & 1991.

International Tests

Kerry refereed in 24 International Tests, they were:

Test No. Year Match
1 1984 Fiji v New Zealand
2 1985 Ireland v France
3 1985 Wales v Ireland
4 1985 New Zealand v England
5 1985 Argentina v New Zealand
6 1985 Argentina v New Zealand
7 1986 USA v Japan
8 1987 Wales v Ireland
9 1987 England v USA
10 1987 New Zealand v Wales
11 1987 New Zealand v France (RWC Final)
12 1987 Fiji v England
13 1989 Scotland v Ireland
14 1989 Wales v England
15 1989 ANZACS v British Lions
16 1989 South Africa v World XV
17 1990 Canada v Argentina
18 1990 USA v Argentina
19 1990 Australia v USA
20 1991 France v Wales
21 1991 Scotland v Ireland
22 1991 Fiji v Canada
23 1991 New Zealand v Italy
24 1991 England v Scotland


Fitzgerald collapsed and died in his office on 18 December 1991.[2]

Kerry Fitzgerald Medal

The Kerry Fitzgerald Medal is awarded to QRRA(Brisbane) Referees on the occasion of their international test debut.

The Citation for the medal reads:

Kerry Fitzgerald was an esteemed member of the Association. It was he that pioneered what we now call "Preventative Rugby" and he that had that unique ability to manage the game on the field and be considered as doing it very well whilst remaining the 31st Man. His career was cut short whilst he was in his prime and his passing was a sad loss to all of those involved in Rugby. This medal was originally awarded to a First Grade Referee but now recognises a QRRA(Brisbane) referee in his/her First International Appointment.[3]

Current presentations listed are[4]:

Year Name
1997 Andrew Cole
1998 Andrew Cole
1999 Pat Rae
2000 Pat Rae
2001 Paul Marks
2002 Rodd Brockett
2003 Greg Hinton
2004 Greg Hinton
2007 Paul Marks
2009 Stephen Hill

It is not clear on how certain referees have been awarded twice, perhaps one is a 7's debut or a second tier international, and the other is a full International.


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