The South African Rugby Union will provide the match official resources for the Varsity Cup to experiment with two on-field referees in all matches next year.
The innovation, which has been in operation in the Stellenbosch Koshuis (Hostel) League for some time, has the blessing of SARU and the IRB have been made aware.
"It might be weird initially seeing two referees on the field, but I would like spectators to be patient,” said André Watson, the General Manager Referees at SARU.
“We've obviously monitored it (two referees) in the Maties Koshuis Leagues, but this is a great opportunity to test it at a higher level and we're very excited to see if it allows for more accuracy, fewer stoppages and, thereby, more flow.”
The Varsity Cup has previously trialled the white card (time-out) system as well as allowing referees to make their own Television Match Official decisions (with in-goal monitors) and was the first rugby competition in South Africa to have 23-man playing squads.
"We're very excited about the opportunity to trial the two-referees' system next year," said, Duitser Bosman, MD of the Varsity Cup. “We're all excited to see if two referees can help make for a better product for everyone - the players, coaches and, of course, our valued spectators. SARU has been very supportive."
The 2014 Varsity Cup kicks-off on Monday, February 3 (2014), with the Varsity Shield competition getting underway a week earlier on January 27.