His challenge would be, if it's possible, to find his way back again
New Zealand referee Bryce Lawrence will not be refereeing Test matches 'in the forseeable future', and perhaps never again.
In the most recent IRB Merit panel, Lawrence was dropped - along with South Africa's Jonathan Kaplan and Englishmen Dave Perason and Wayne Barnes.
Barnes has subsequently made his way back into refereeing Tests, but not the other three.
The selections at IRB level are made by the selection committee, which includes former elite referees Lyndon Bray and Tappe Henning (both SANZAR) and Donal Courtney and Clayton Thomas (both Six Nations).
Bray, a New Zealander like Lawrence, is SANZAR's game manager with referees as part of his brief. He said: "From an IRB perspective, he has not been selected in the Tests. That's a decision that we as selectors in the IRB made back in March."
Lawrence suffered severe criticism and even threats of physical violence after his refereeing of the 2011 RWC quarterfinal match between South Africa and Australia, which South Africa lost. Despite many Springbok errors, and the staunch Wallaby defence, Lawrence became the target of criticism and blame - much as Wayne Barnes was after the All Blacks' exit from the 2007 Rugby World Cup.
The reaction was a traumatic time for Lawrence. He continued refereeing Super Rugby but it was felt prudent not to risk him in South Africa.
That he is not now refereeing Test matches does not mean that his Test career is over. Barnes has already made his way back and there are past examples of referees such as Tony Spreadbury and Mark Lawrence who came back after being 'dropped'.
Bray said: "His challenge would be, if it's possible, to find his way back again. And I think given the reality and what he's gone through and the situation he's in at the moment, that would be a huge ask."
Lawrence, formerly a primary school headmaster, turns 42 in December. He has been refereeing first-class matches since 1997, Super Rugby since 2005 and Tests since 2005. He has refereed 25 Tests, including matches in the Six Nations, the Tri-Nations, the 2009 B&I Lions tour to South Africa and the World Cup.