Albert Freethy Whistle

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The Albert Freethy Whistle & Florin are used by the Referee of the opening game at the Rugby World Cup.


Who is Albert Freethy?

Albert Freethy Whistle - Albert Freethy side
Albert Freethy Whistle - Gil Evans side
The florin & original match information
New Zealand side of the decorated florin
Albert Freethy

Albert Freethy was a Welsh Rugby Union Referee and first class cricketer. He took charge of 18 test matches between 1923 & 1931, including 1924 Olympic Final which was won by the USA 17-3 over France.

Albert Freethy was also the first referee to send a player off in the 1925 England vs New Zealand Test Match, that player was Cyril Brownlie and is one of only 2 All Blacks to have ever been sent off in test matches. Freethy had tried to send off a player in the previous year during the Olympic Final, however had been pursuaded otherwise.

The Whistle with a story

That is the opening line of the information upon the whistle contained within Ron Palenski's book entitled "Rugby: A New Zealand History". And very true it is too.

The Albert Freethy Whistle did not originally belong to Albert Freethy, it was originally owned & used by Gil Evans, another Welsh Rugby Union Referee during the first tours of Great Britain by New Zealand (1905), South Africa (1906) & Australia (1908), who then passed it on to Freethy who used the whistle to referee the 1924 Olympic Final between France & USA, and in the England v New Zealand game where the first player was sent off. The Whistle is now traditionally used by the referee of the opening game of the Rugby World Cup.

The Freethy Florin

The Florin was lent to Albert Freethy by New Zealand supporter Hector Grey ahead of the 1925 Test Match between England & New Zealand, the florin is now traditionally used in the coin toss between the two captains of the opening match of a Rugby World Cup.

The writing on the inside of the case reads:

Coin which was successful in winning the toss for NZ in match NZ v England at Twickenham England on 3rd Jan 1925. Won by NZ 17-11. Captains NZ J.Richardson England W.Wakefield

As you can see the florin has been decorated and engraved with the original match details.

Rugby World Cup Referees to have used the Whistle & Florin

To date, no referee that has used the Albert Freethy whistle has refereed a Rugby World Cup Final after using it.


All images are reproduced for referee education only, all rights remain with the owner who is listed in the file description.

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