SA refs up for Top Awards
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Jaco Peyper and Rasta Rasivhenge will be at the Hilton Hotel in London, a posh place to be and a posh occasion as they have been nominated for the prestigious Referee of the Year award.
The occasion will be World Rugby's Awards Dinner.
There are 12 categories of awards - distinguished service, character, special merit, Sevens, Women's Sevens, Breakthrough Player of the Year, Try of the Year, Women's Player of the Year, Try of the Year, Coach of the Year, Team of the Year, Referee of the Year and Player of the Year.
Last year Nigel Owens, who refereed the Final of the World Cup was the referee of the year. This year there are four nominees - Jaco Peyper of South Africa, Rasta Rasivhenge of South Africa, Jérôme Garcès of France and Alhambra Nievas of Spain. Garcès and Alhambra Nievas were nominated in 2015 as well, when Nigel Owens received the award as Referee of the Year.
Rasivhenge, 30 - the youngest of the three men - refereed the men's Final of the historic Sevens at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and Alhambra the women's Sevens Final in Rio.
Rasivhenge is this year's South African Referee of the Year, as he was in 2015. Peyper was the Referee of the year in 2012, followed by Jonathan Kaplan and Craig Joubert.
Alhambra Nievas who played 15s and Sevens for Spain, lives in Málaga on Spavins Costa del Sol and referees in Spain's División de Honor, the top men's league. She has refereed in many parts of the world, including South Africa. Last month she refereed the women's Test between New Zealand and Australia in New Zealand and this month will referee England v France and England v Canada at Twickenham.
Peyper (36) and Garcès (43) were both referees at the 2015 World Cup, as Nievas was at the last Women's World Cup.
South Africa's referees have the right to be proud of both of their nominees.