Local refs for Sharks’ first Super Rugby ties

2012-02-09 00:00

SOUTH AFRICA’s two most experienced referees, Jonathan Kaplan and Mark Lawrence, will take charge of the Sharks’ first four Super Rugby matches in February and March.

Sanzar yesterday announced the referee appointments for the opening six rounds, and the Sharks will be pleased to have tried and tested local officials in charge of their first four games in South Africa — against the Bulls, Stormers, Lions and champion Reds.

Kaplan will handle the Sharks’ opening game against the Bulls on Friday, February 24, while Lawrence will referee their next two outings against the Stormers in Cape Town (March 3) and the Lions in Durban (March 10). A week later (March 17) Kaplan will be in charge of the King’s Park game between the Reds, the title-holders from Queensland, and the Sharks.

The Sharks then travel to Australia to play the Waratahs and the Brumbies with New Zealanders Chris Pollock and Keith Brown taking charge.

Supporters in this country with dark memories of the Rugby World Cup will be delighted that New Zealand referee Bryce Lawrence, whether by accident or design, has been kept well away from South African teams in the opening six rounds.

The controversial New Zealand referee will handle four games in the first six rounds but all involve Australasian teams.

Sanzar, in an attempt to improve the flow of the game and the understanding among the players and spectators, have made every effort to prepare their referees for the season.

Sanzar manager Lyndon Bray said yesterday he was excited about the season and that the referees had spent “a very meaningful four days in camp at Coogee Beach in Sydney during January”.

He said five key areas had been identified “in an attempt to continuously improve performance on the field and to make the game easy to play, referee and understand as spectators”.

He said new technology would be introduced to improve technique and accuracy. “There has been a real commitment by our team to look to improve on our overall outcomes and deliver our best possible performance every time we run out onto the field. We have spent considerable money and time on new technology to support the guys.”

This year sees five new referees including two, Lourens van der Merwe and Stuart Berry, from South Africa.

“The management team has to make astute decisions about the timing of appointing the new guys in the middle, and what game would best suit them. It is the same dilemma that confronts team coaches as they look to introduce new players onto the field.”

Bray singled out South African Jaco Peyper as a key referee for the future.

“Jaco Peyper had a big year in 2011 and we are going to really push him early, and gauge where he is at. This could be a really good year for him.”

• Franzel September will lead Boland when they tackle the Sharks in a Super Rugby friendly at King’s Park tomorrow evening.

Coach Loffie Eloff has opted for the experience of Ricardo Croy at flyhalf.

The Sharks are expected to name their team today.


Boland: 15 Jonathan Francke, 14 Senan van der Merwe, 13 Jacquin Jansen, 12 Siviwe Magaba, 11 Brendon April, 10 Ricardo Croy, 9 Neil Papier, 8 Junior Bester, 7 Thor Halvorsen, 6 Franzel September (c), 5 Nolan Clark, 4 Jerry Sefoko, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Chris Buckle, 1 Charl du Plessis.

Replacements: 16 Martin Nel, 17 BJ Julies, 18 Jaco du Toit, 19 PJ van Zyl, 20 Juwell Samuels, 21 Jeremy Plaatjies, 22 Cola Williams, 23 Milroy Isaacs, 24 Adam Barlow.

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