A young and somewhat inexperienced Super Rugby referees panel includes rookie South African whistleblower, AJ Jacobs.
The teacher and former Griffons fullback, who made his first-class debut as a referee three years ago, was included on Sanzaar’s 17-man list of Super Rugby referees that includes fellow South Africans Jaco Peyper, Marius van der Westhuizen, Rasta Rasivhenge and Egon Seconds.
“AJ is one of our most promising referees and I want to congratulate him on his appointment,” said Banks Yantolo, SA Rugby’s Manager of Referees.
“He is a dedicated match official and he fully deserves his Super Rugby appointment. All our referees have worked very hard to be in good shape for the forthcoming season. In addition to the annual Sanzaar pre-season training camp, which took place in December in Stellenbosch, our referees also completed another local camp just a few days ago, to sharpen up their preparations for the coming season.”
Peyper is the most grizzled ref on the panel, but his tally of 82 Super Rugby matches more than doubles the experience of the four remaining members of the South African contingent. Van der Westhuizen has controlled 28 matches, Rasivhenge eight and Seconds four.
Despite Jacobs being the only newcomer on the panel, he joins a relatively green lineup that includes just five referees with 30 or more matches under the belt.
Two local referees, Stuart Berry and Quinton Immelman, were redeployed to the PRO14, while Jaco van Heerden retired from refereeing late last year.
The Super Rugby panel features five South Africans, seven Kiwis, three Aussies and one each from Japan and Argentina.
2018 Super Rugby referee panel:
Federico Anselmi (Argentina, 8 Super Rugby matches)
Nic Berry (Australia, 10)
Nick Briant (New Zealand, 41)
Mike Fraser (New Zealand, 40)
Angus Gardner (Australia, 47)
Will Houston (Australia, 9)
AJ Jacobs (South Africa, 0)
Glen Jackson (New Zealand, 65)
Shuhei Kubo (Japan, 8)
Jamie Nutbrown (New Zealand, 8)
Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand, 24)
Jaco Peyper (South Africa, 82)
Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand, 12)
Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa, 8)
Egon Seconds (South Africa, 4)
Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa, 28)
Paul Williams (New Zealand, 11)