2018 Super Rugby Referee squad announced

AJ Jacobs (South Africa)
(Credit Steve Haag UAR)
  • Panel reduced to 17
  • Immelman now in Pro14; Hoffmann and van Heerden retired
  • AJ Jacobs is this year’s rookie
  • Panel is made up of seven New Zealanders, five South Africans, three Australians and one each from Japan and Argentina

SANZAAR has announced the referee team that will officiate the 2018 Super Rugby season. With the Super Rugby tournament format meaning fewer matches this season, the referee team has been similarly reduced, from 19 to 17 referees. Jaco van Heerden retired from refereeing late last year to concentrate on becoming an Advocate, and Rohan Hoffmann, at the ripe age of 46, has now joined him after an illustrious professional playing and refereeing career.

At the start of his Super Rugby career, South African AJ Jacobs, 32 (pictured above), will make his debut this season, joining a panel which has a breadth of experience. Jaco Peyper tops the list at 85 appearances, with fellow South African, Egon Seconds, who debuted last season, has four appointments to date.

SANZAAR CEO Andy Marinos, commented,  “Along with a new Super Rugby format we will have a refocussed referee team that has been through an extensive training camp over the summer in preparation for the 2018 season.

“I have challenged the team to further raise the quality of performance and play a role, within the confines of the laws, in ensuring that our matches are exciting and entertaining from start to finish.”

SANZAAR Game Manager, Lyndon Bray added, “The team is a well-balanced mix of referees with Test and Super Rugby experience and several emerging referees who now have one or two seasons under their belt. The experience in the team comes from Jaco Peyper and Glen Jackson, who have refereed 82 and 65 matches respectively, while we also have a group around the 40-50 mark including Angus Gardner, Nick Briant and Mike Fraser.

“At the conclusion of the 2017 season SANZAAR conducted a survey of the Super Rugby team coaches and the feedback helped determine the focus for our annual referee camp which is always held prior to the start of each season.”

“The primary focus of the camp in Cape Town, South Africa was how our referee team ‘connects to the game’ and ‘builds strong working relationships’. The overall objective is to ensure the referees continue to build on their progress as Super Rugby and Test referees.”

Nic Berry referee
Nic Berry, Australia: (Photo by Dianne Manson/Getty Images for SUNWOLVES)

“It was fantastic that 10 of our Super Rugby referees were able to experience Test rugby in Europe during November, and that Glen Jackson, Jaco Peyper, Ben O’Keeffe and Angus Gardner are scheduled to handle 6 Nations games early in 2018,” added Bray.

Speaking of AJ Jacob’s promotion to the panel, Banks Yantolo, SA Rugby’s Manager of Referees said, “AJ is one of our most promising referees and I want to congratulate him on his appointment. He is a dedicated match official and he fully deserves his Vodacom 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.”

2018 Super Rugby Referee Team

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

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