RIP Steve Savage


Referees in England
Feb 4, 2007
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Steve Savage, the former RFU referees manager, has died suddenly in Germany.

From Coventry Telegraph
The popular and hugely respected Warwickshire rugby figure died suddenly on Tuesday.
Warwickshire rugby has lost one of its most respected figures through the untimely death of Steve Savage.
The 60-year-old passed away suddenly in Leipzig, where he was working for World Rugby as the citing officer at Saturday’s international between Germany and Brazil.
As a player, Savage operated in the centre for Nuneaton then Nuneaton Old Edwardians, where he was also club captain.
But it was when he followed in the footsteps of his father Terry into refereeing that he really made his mark on the sport.
In the early 1990’s, Savage climbed quickly from the Warwickshire Society of Referees to the RFU National Panel, for whom he took charge of matches in the top four divisions of English rugby.
By the time the sport went professional in 1995 he was one of England’s top officials, who performed all round the world alongside working as a PE teacher at Woodlands then Stoke Park schools in Coventry.
Savage’s refereeing career peaked with a spell in the Premiership, where the advent of TV microphones provided TV viewers with insight to his cutting wit and no nonsense approach.
He also officiated at a number of internationals, before going on to a second career as a Premiership touch judge.
As rugby union became increasingly professional, Savage swapped his teaching career for a new position as the RFU’s Referee Manager, where he became a popular figure with rising generations of officials.
And when he retired from this full-time role, Savage’s rugby life turned in a new direction as one of a panel of citing officers, in which capacity he was often seen at the Ricoh Arena during Premiership and European matches.
Savage also returned to his roots as director of rugby at Nuneaton Old Eds, where he was last summer instrumental in bringing Wasps pair Jimmy Gopperth and Craig Hampson on board as coaches.
John Collins issued a statement on behalf of the club’s executive committee:
“It is with real sadness that we learned yesterday of the sudden and unexpected death of Steve Savage, our Director Of Rugby.
“Steve was citing for World Rugby in Leipzig and died yesterday morning.
“He was a great servant of our club as player, 1st XV Captain, Past President and more recently as our DoR.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time. We will keep people informed of further arrangements.”
Tributes are flowing in to the popular figure, including his former Old Eds teammate Bill Brindley, who remembered Savage’s huge contribution to sport in his home town.
“At one stage the Eds had eight teams and that was down to Sav. It was his drive that made that happen,” he said.
“He would shake the hand of every player as they arrived, he’d know all their names. He was a proper rugby man.”
Warwickshire Society of Referees secretary Ian Roberts, who also worked with Savage at Stoke Park described him as “an irreplaceable figure who will be hugely missed.”
“I’ve known Steve for ever, and he has done so much for our sport,” Mr Roberts said. “We had an Exec Meeting last night, and no-one can quite believe what has happened, we are all numb.”
Savage is survived by his wife Michelle, mother Marlene and sister Trudy plus brother Andy, who is a former Coventry scrum half.

Phil E

Referees in England
Staff member
Jan 22, 2008
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Current Referee grade:
Level 8
What a shock...he will be sadly missed by a lot of people.


Referees in New Zealand
Staff member
Jul 12, 2005
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Current Referee grade:
Level 2
Good heavens! He cant have been very old... mid 60s? only 60!!!
RIP Steve! and condolences to his family and friends
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