Meticulous planning, preparation and hard work by South Africa’s top referees, currently at their annual planning camp in the North West province, are the reasons why they consistently rank amongst the best in the world.
“We’re very proud of the hard work put in by everyone involved at the South African Rugby Referees’ Association,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of the South African Rugby Union (SARU).
“It’s evident when you look at the appointments for top level matches and the composition of the elite refereeing panels that South Africans are leading the way. This would not be possible if it wasn’t for huge dedication from our referees.”
Andre Watson, SARU’s General Manager of Referees, said that every referee on the various panels had passed their fitness tests on Monday with flying colours.
“I’m extremely pleased with the results of the fitness tests,” said Watson.
“Our referees have worked very hard during the off-season and every one of them passed their fitness tests, of which the standard is quite high. This year, our referees are probably the fittest that they have ever been.”
Apart from the fitness tests, the referees will be tested on the laws of the game, as well as receive valuable input from SARU GM of High Performance, Rassie Erasmus, as well as two former Test props, Pieter de Villiers and Balie Swart. A total of 125 people are attending the camp.
“The scrums have become a contentious area of the game and by bringing in Pieter and Balie, we’re hoping to ensure that our referees will be properly prepared to make the right calls at scrum time this season,” explained Watson.
“Pieter and Balie have explained to the referees the finer mechanics of the front rows at the scrums. We have put in a lot of work to ensure this area of the game is refereed consistently across all levels.
“Consistency in the application of the laws is key for us, which is also why we have representatives of every provincial union with us this week. They will go back to their unions with DVDs and presentation material to ensure the message filters through to the lower levels as well.
“The team spirit at the camp is superb and the level of presentations done by guys like Mark Lawrence, Tappe Henning and Neville Heilbron is world class.”