Yellow card gets new home in rugby museum

Wellington - The yellow card that Irish referee Alan Lewis wielded to send three All Blacks to the sin bin in November's Test against England has been given a final resting place in New Zealand.

Lewis has agreed to donate both the card and his match whistle, as well as his International Rugby Board referees' jersey, to the New Zealand Rugby Museum.

In a message to the museum Lewis said: "People are still talking about the game. It was raw rugby and genuine rugby people loved it. It is an honour to be part of that history."

Despite being undermanned for much of the second half of the Test, the All Blacks beat the reigning world champions England 23-19 at Twickenham on their way to an historic Grand Slam tour of the British Isles.

Lewis's yellow card is not the first to find a permanent home at the Rugby Museum in Palmerston North about 140km north of Wellington

Already on display is the first yellow card waved at an All Black. That was from the 1995 tour of France when Irish referee Gordon Black showed it to lock Mark Cooksley after he'd punched an opponent in a midweek match at Nancy.

Black was later told the card system hadn't yet been introduced to international rugby.

The Irish linkage doesn't stop with Lewis and Black. All Black legend Colin Meads was ordered off against Scotland at Murrayfield in 1967 by Irishman Kevin Kelleher and the museum also has his whistle.

The other famous whistle at the museum is the one used to start all five Rugby World Cups.

That whistle was used by English referee Gil Evans during the 1905 All Black Originals' tour against England and again by Welshman Albert Freethy when he sent off All Black Cyril Brownlie against England at Twickenham in 1925.

The same whistle was also used at the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris.


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