JONATHAN Kaplan, the world's most capped Test referee, has been appointed to referee the 2009 Currie Cup final.
This will be Kaplan's fifth Currie Cup final, putting him third on the all-time list. Andre Watson, who also refereed two World Cup finals, heads the list with seven finals, with Steve Strydom on six. Kaplan will draw level with Freek Burger on five.
Only 24 referees have refereed Currie Cup finals since 1939. It remains the most sought-after match in South Africa for players and referees, ranking higher than many Test matches. Kaplan, for example, has refereed more than 10 times as many Tests as Currie Cup finals, reports the SA Rugby website.
Kaplan refereed his first final in 2002 when the Golden Lions played the Blue Bulls. He will now have refereed four of the past five finals, missing out in 2007 when he stayed on longer at the World Cup than others did.
Marius Jonker and Mark Lawrence have been appointed to the Currie Cup semifinals this weekend and Craig Joubert will handle the First Division final. Jonker will referee the first semifinal between the Sharks and the Free State Cheetahs in Durban. Lawrence, who refereed the 2007 Currie Cup final, will be in charge of the semifinal at Newlands where Western Province will play the Blue Bulls.
Joubert will referee the First Division final for the second time. The final, between the Pumas and South Western Districts, will be played in Witbank on Friday evening. - Sapa