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SANZAR's ref bolters for 2013

Wed, 19 Dec 2012 08:34
Jason-jaftha-scrum Nick-briant Jason-jaftha-points

They have been selected with an eye to the future

Quote-end

SANZAR produced a few bolters when they named the Super Rugby referees for 2013. There has been a changing of the guard.

There are five new referees on the panel, seven who have been promoted from last year's Reserve Panel and one who has been brought back.

Those who have gone to rest after great careers are Keith Brown, who has retired, Marius Jonker, who has retired from international referee but is still continuing in South Africa's domestic competitions, Bryce Lawrence, who is now a part of referee development in New Zealand, and Mark Lawrence, who is much involved in the training and education of referees in South Africa. In addition Ian Smith of last year's reserve panel is not on the panel this year.

Those promoted from last year's reserve panel are Stuart Berry, Mike Fraser, Angus Gardner, Glen Jackson, Andrew Lees, Lourens van der Merwe and Jonathon White.

James Leckie is the man brought back after it seemed that he would be concentrating on being an assistant referee.

The new men are Francisco Pastrana, Jason Jaftha, Nick Briant and Rohan Hoffman.

Two of the referees have suffered injuries during 2012. Chris Pollock developed arthritis in his left hip for which he required surgery. Stuart Berry suffered a motor car accident on his way to the airport en route to referee. His arm was broken in 22 places. Both are getting fit for 2013.

Super Rugby Referee Team for 2013

Argentina: Francisco Pastrana

Australia: Steve Walsh, Andrew Lees, Angus Gardner, James Leckie, Rohan Hoffman

New Zealand: Chris Pollock, Glen Jackson, Garratt Williamson, Jonathon White, Mike Fraser, Nick Briant

South Africa: Craig Joubert, Jaco Peyper, Jonathan Kaplan, Lourens van der Merwe, Stuart Berry, Jason Jaftha (South Africa)

Lyndon Bray, the former Test referee and currently SANZAR's game manager which includes refereeing, says: "The recent form of some of our referees in the Test environment has given us an excellent senior group within the team, and we have been able to include a healthy number of young referees.

"They have been selected with an eye to the future, both for Super Rugby and Test rugby.

"Along with the five new referees introduced to Super Rugby in 2012, we have a very strong nucleus of younger referees, blended with some of the best in the world at the top of their game."

For some the surprise will be Rohan Hoffman who turns 41 in January. (Only Kaplan is older than he is.) He is a Queenslander who played in Portugal for many years, including 27 times for Portugal. Playing career over he started refereeing in 2008 refereed a Test in Monaco between Monaco and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Back in Australia he made strides in refereeing, refereeing in the IRB Sevens series, doing Queensland A against the Fiji Warriors and acting as an assistant referee in Super Rugby.

Nick Briant is a 31-year-old agricultural engineer from the Bay of Plenty who went the frequent route from injured player to referee.

Jason Jaftha, born in the lovely Karroo town of Prince Albert at the foot of the Outeniqua Pass on 4 May 1985, had a golden 2012, crowning it with two Tests.

Francisco Pastrana is a fulltime referee from Buenos Ares, 33 years of age, who has travelled far and wide to develop his refereeing - to Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. He has been to two Junior World Cups - in Italy and South Africa - and has Test experience. He actually refereed a Super Rugby match in 2012 - the Lions vs the Rebels in Johannesburg and ended the year on a high note, refereeing Samoa vs Canada, Tonga vs USA and French Barbarians vs Japan. He is the first Argentinian appointed to a Super Rugby panel.

The ages of the referees, which are not really relevant when it comes to ability, may be of interest:

Stuart Berry - 30
Nick Briant - 31
Mike Fraser -32
Angus Gardner - 28
Rohan Hoffman -41
Glen Jackson - 37
Jason Jaftha - 27
Craig Joubert - 35
Jonathan Kaplan - 48
James Leckie - 37
Andrew Lees - 33
Francisco Pastrana - 33
Jaco Peyper - 32
Chris Pollock - 30
Lourens van der Merwe - 35
Steve Walsh - 40
Jonathon White - 32
Garratt Williamson - 41

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