Another major loss for rugby as Dobson passes away

Tributes have poured in after legendary former referee Paul Dobson passed away on Monday.

In a life devoted to rugby, not just as a referee, but also as a schools coach and writer, Dobson made an exceptional contribution to the game in South Africa since taking the whistle of his first match in 1955.

He joined the Western Province Referees Society in 1968, while one of Dobson’s lasting legacies was his drive to unify the two different referees’ societies in South Africa, representing the then different unions. By the end of 1991, Dobson had successfully navigated the merger and the referees were the first rugby body to achieve this, a year ahead of the unions becoming joined.

Dobson became chairman of the Western Province Society in 1985 and managed all aspects of refereeing in the region until his retirement in 1999. He was a member of the Western Province Rugby Council for 15 years. He is now a life member and honorary life president of the Western Province Rugby Referees Society.

Back in 2012, Dobson was presented with the IRB Referee Award for Distinguished Service by IRB council member and South African Rugby CEO Jurie Roux at the Junior World Championship semi-finals in Cape Town.

Dobson also turned his hand to rugby writing and his books on the game include: The Official History of South African Rugby, Doc: An Autobiography of Danie Craven and biographies on Nick Mallett and Andre Watson.

He has also managed content for the SA Rugby Referees website, while becoming a regular and insightful columnist for

The tragic news came on the same day that the rugby fraternity bid farewell to iconic broadcaster Kaunda Ntunja.

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