Nationality makes way for merit

The standard of the quality of South Africa's rugby referees was highlighted by the inclusion of four South Africans on merit for the next year's Super 14 panel.

The standard of the quality of South Africa's rugby referees was highlighted by the inclusion of four South Africans on merit for the next year's Super 14 panel.

This comes just after the announcement that South African officials will handle a third of the Six Nations internationals early in the new year.

The principle of merit referees rather than nationality or domicile for next year was accepted unanimously by the three countries.

Jonathan Kaplan, Mark Lawrence, Craig Joubert and Marius Jonker are the South Africans on the panel, with only two New Zealanders Steve Walsh and Bryce Lawrence deemed good enough. From Australia Stuart Dickinson, James Leckie and Matt Goddard made the panel.

No less than 19 referees were used in this year's Super 14 but this time nine will referee at least 75% of the matches.

The panel will be reviewed to allow for changes if necessary.

- Sapa

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