Drive to recruit new rugby refs

SOUTH African Rugby Union manager of referees Andre Watson said yesterday that promising young South African referees had an outstanding chance of officiating at the highest level once they had taken up the whistle.

SOUTH African Rugby Union manager of referees Andre Watson said yesterday that promising young South African referees had an outstanding chance of officiating at the highest level once they had taken up the whistle.

Watson made the promise during the Coca-Cola Under-18 Craven Week in East London when he appealed to rugby enthusiasts with a passion for the game to consider taking up refereeing.

"We are on an aggressive programme to recruit newcomers to the refereeing ranks," Watson said.

"Once we have the person on board, I am very confident that we have the correct structures and training programmes in place to get promising youngsters to the top.

"The fact that four referees out of 20 on the International Rugby Board's (IRB) Test panel come from South Africa is evidence enough of the refereeing talent we have in this country."

South African referees are world leaders. Watson himself refereed two Rugby World Cup finals while Jonathan Kaplan is the world's most capped Test referee and recently officiated in his 52nd match.

Mark Lawrence, Craig Joubert and Marius Jonker are the other South African refs on the IRB Test panel. - Sapa

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