Emerging Test referee Lourens van der Merwe will make history when he officiates in the first Vodacom Super Rugby match involving the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth next Saturday.
Van der Merwe’s appointment was announced by SANZAR on Wednesday, when they confirmed the referee appointments for the first four rounds of the 2013 Vodacom Super Rugby season, which kicks off with the Rebels hosting the Force on Friday 15 February.
The South African and New Zealand franchises will only be in action from Round 2 onwards as the Australian Conference gets the 18th season of Vodacom Super Rugby underway.
Van der Merwe will referee the Kings’ debut match, at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium against the Western Force on Saturday, 23 February.
The first match in South Africa, on Friday 22 February between the Vodacom Bulls and DHL Stormers at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, will be refereed by Jaco Peyper.
Jonathan Kaplan, in what will be his 100th Vodacom Super Rugby match, will take charge of the derby between the Toyota Cheetahs and The Sharks at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on Saturday, 23 February.
In the third round, Jason Jaftha will make his Vodacom Super Rugby debut at Loftus Versfeld in the match between the Vodacom Bulls and the Western Force.
SANZAR Game Manager, Lyndon Bray, was delighted to announce the first referee appointments of the 2013 season.
“Our mix of seasoned referees and new faces is obvious when seeing Rohan Hoffmann, Jason Jaftha, Nick Briant and James Leckie refereeing in the first four weeks, with the likes of veterans Jonathan Kaplan, Chris Pollock and Steve Walsh controlling matches from Round Two,” Bray said.
“The first stanza of the competition allows us to get our referee team out in the middle and gauge early form, with the entire team getting the chance to blow the whistle during the first eight weeks. That helps us make good value decisions around form, as the competition continues to unfold.”
The full list of referee appointments for the first four rounds can be found by clicking here.