Jason gets the Final

Fri, 12 Oct 2012 07:46
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Jason Jaftha has been appointed to referee the Final of the First Division of the Currie Cup - Eastern Province Kings vs Pumas.

Jason Jaftha has been appointed to referee the Final of the First Division of the Currie Cup - Eastern Province Kings vs Pumas.

They are two sides who have played each other twice and on each occasion the result has been a draw. It could be exciting. For Jaftha the appointment is exciting.

Back from work on Monday evening in his father's shop (Gameshop) in Prince Albert, he opened the e-mail with his appointments and saw that he had been appointed to do the Final. "I was surprised - didn't expect it at all. In fact I was overwhelmed with a mixture of emotions, for I realised what an honour and a privilege it is to be doing my first Final in the First Division."

It is not a surprise appointment, following as it does on three excellent Premier Division matches - Blue Bulls vs the Golden Lions in Pretoria, Golden Lions vs Sharks in Johannesburg and Free State Cheetahs vs Griquas in Bloemfontein. André Watson says: "Jason's appointment to the Final is well deserved as he has been in great form of late."

Nor is it a sudden appointment.

Like Craig Joubert, Steve Walsh and Wayne Barnes, Jaftha started refereeing as a schoolboy, just 15 years of age. "I grew up in a rugby family and since referees did not always show up in Prince Albert I was always the one who refereed the games. It became my way of staying involved with the game."

Prince Albert? A beautiful town over the Outeniqua Pass into the Karroo, on the way to Oudtshoorn. At the foot of the Swartberg, well watered by the Swartberg, it is a delightful place becoming increasingly fashionable. It's a small place and there, now that Outa Lappies Schoeman has died, Jason Jaftha is a hero, its best known inhabitant.

Jason Jamaine Jason was born there (4 May 1985) and at Hoërskool Zwartberg when he started refereeing. He became the head prefect of the school. Now he has been declared an ambassador for Prince Albert, the first town in South Africa to establish a racially mixed rugby team. That was back in 1984 after a visit by Doc Craven, Ian Kirkpatrick and their team.

In 2004 he joined the South Western Districts Referees' Society. Not long afterwards, Jimmy Smith-Belton, a top referee in his day phoned and said: "I have just seen a schoolboy refereeing a provincial match and he's really, really good."

Jaftha was no longer a schoolboy but he was "really, really good" and his progress up the ranks has been unusually rapid - Contenders Squad in 2006, Provincial Panel in 2007 and 2008, and National Panel from 2009 till now when he is a reserve to the Super Rugby Panel. In 2010 he received the SARU award for the Most Promising Referee.

Sevens gave him lots of international exposure and the schoolboy from Prince Albert has refereed at Newlands, Twickenham, Murrayfield, Coca-Cola Park, Loftus Versfeld, Kings Park, Dubai, Delhi for the Commonwealth Games, Tokyo, Hong Kong with its hectic party and sophisticated Las Vegas.

Now, aged only 27, he is refereeing his first big Final in South Africa, in posh Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth. He is grateful to the Sevens: "Sevens helped me a great deal. I grew more on the Sevens circuit as a referee - on the field and off the field.

"I'd have loved to have stayed involved in the shortened code of rugby. Hopefully I can make a comeback there but for now I'm looking forward to the Final and to work hard to make a success of it."

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 28 April 2017
Highlanders v Stormers 07h35 Dunedin
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 18h05 Cardiff
Edinburgh v Dragons 18h35 Myreside
Leinster v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 RDS Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors 19h00 Kingston Park
Sat, 29 April 2017
Chiefs v Sunwolves 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Waratahs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Force v Lions 11h55 Perth
Ospreys v Ulster 14h00 Liberty Stadium
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Saracens v Bristol 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Wasps 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Cheetahs v Crusaders 15h15 Bloemfontein
Treviso v Munster 17h05 Stadio Monigo
Kings v Rebels 17h30 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Connacht v Scarlets 18h35 Sportsground
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 April 2017
Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 27 | 22
Sat, 22 April 2017
Sharks v Rebels 9 | 9
Bulls v Cheetahs 20 | 14
Munster v Saracens 10 | 26
Force v Chiefs 7 | 16
Crusaders v Stormers 57 | 24
Highlanders v Sunwolves 40 | 15
Fri, 21 April 2017
Lions v Jaguares 24 | 21
Waratahs v Kings 24 | 26
Hurricanes v Brumbies 56 | 21
Mon, 17 April 2017
UP-Tuks v Maties 28 | 21
Sun, 16 April 2017
Bristol v Wasps 21 | 36
Northampton Saints v Saracens 25 | 27
Sat, 15 April 2017
Connacht v Leinster 24 | 37
Treviso v Edinburgh 21 | 6
CURRIE CUP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Free State Cheetahs 8 8 0 0 39
Blue Bulls 8 6 0 2 30
Western Province 8 5 0 3 27
Golden Lions 8 5 0 3 26
Sharks 8 5 0 3 25
Griquas 8 4 0 4 21
Boland 8 2 0 6 11
Pumas 8 1 0 7 10
EP Kings 8 0 0 8 1
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