Age seems to have counted against New Zealand's top referee officiating at this year's Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Glen Jackson, 43, has been left out of World Rugby's 12-strong refereeing panel for the tournament, which features two Kiwis - Ben O'Keeffe, 30, and Paul Williams, 34.
New Zealand Rugby national referee manager Bryce Lawrence has expressed surprise and disappointment that Jackson has been overlooked.
"We haven't been given any specific reasons [from World Rugby], apart from saying they picked a squad of 12, and they've taken a mixture of experienced referees and a couple of younger ones," Lawrence told Newshub.
"They don't really see Glen being there in four years' time, so he's probably one of the older referees and that's probably counted against him this time.
"Both Ben and Paul are on the rise, they've both refereed Junior World Cup finals [and] they've both refereed Rugby Championship games really successfully in the last 12 months.
"World Rugby see them as form referees and they've also got a big future in front of them."
O'Keeffe is also disappointed Jackson won't be joining him in Japan.
"I know how he's going to be feeling it, because Glen is not just a refereeing colleague, but he's been one of my biggest mentors over the last few years," O'Keeffe told Newshub.
"He's the first guy I spoke to when I found out and he was the first person patting me on the back.
"He's very grateful and happy that the four of us are going to be representing New Zealand at the World Cup."
Jackson is reportedly considering his future with the whistle, since learning he won't be officiating at the Rugby World Cup, but Lawrence is 'really optimistic' he will remain amongst the refereeing ranks.
"He's been our top referee for the last 4-5 years and is the leader of our professional referee group, so we're working pretty hard to keep him interested in carrying on and we're pretty hopeful he'll do that."
Four of the 12 referees are French, with Jerome Garces, Romain Poite, Pascal Gauzerre and Mathieu Raynal all appointed.
New Zealand Rugby has no complaints.
"The four French guys have refereed a lot of the big games over the last four or five years, so it's no surprise really that they've been selected," Lawrence said.
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