Cape Town - Craig Joubert has made the cut with three fellow South Africans for the team of 12 match officials selected for the 2015/16 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, World Rugby announced on Monday.
Joubert will link up with Ben Crouse, Rasta Rasivhenge and Marius van der Westhuizen and eight new colleagues following the completion of Rugby World Cup 2015 and before the opening round in Dubai. He will remain available for 15-a-side duty throughout the season.
Rasivhenge is also among the 10 officials who have been selected for the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, which will also kick off in the United Arab Emirates.
The desire from the world’s top 15s referees to be a part of the match officials’ team, heightens the already tough competition for places as excitement builds in anticipation of the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“It is exciting for the sevens referee team that a high-profile referee such as Craig Joubert has made himself available to try to referee his way into the Olympics,” said World Rugby Council member and match official selector John Jeffery.
“We all know he is an outstanding 15s referee, and having started his career in sevens, we are delighted he will be able to bring his experience and expertise into the sevens group.”
Joubert, who will referee France v Italy in his first RWC 2015 match on September 19, said: “I’m really excited by the opportunity to again referee on the World Rugby Sevens series. My dream is, through on-field performances, to put myself in a position to be considered for selection to referee at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
“Sevens rugby has progressed significantly since I refereed on the series from 2003 to 2005 and I know that the first step is to prove myself again on field as a capable sevens referee. I’ll be joining a very experienced and close group of officials on the circuit who I’m really looking forward to learning from and ultimately proving myself to them as a valuable team mate and colleague on this exciting journey for all of us.”
The men’s referee panel is:
Richard Kelly (NZRU), Matt O’Brien (ARU), Marius van der Westhuizen (SARU), Federico Anselmi (UAR), Craig Joubert (SARU), Alex Ruiz (FFR), Nick Briant (NZRU), Mike Adamson (SRU), Ben Crouse (SARU), Rasta Rasivhenge (SARU), Anthony Moyes (ARU), Taku Otsuki (JPN)
The women’s referee panel is:
Leah Berard (USA), Alhambra Nievas (ESP), Sara Cox (RFU), Gabriel Lee (HKRFU), Jess Beard (NZRU), Amy Perrett (ARU), Beatrice Benvenuti (ITA), Rose LaBreche (CAN), James Bolabiu (FIJI), Rasta Rasivhenge (SARU).
The men’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series has been extended to 10 stops for the 2015/16 series, with Cape Town, Sydney, Singapore, Vancouver and Paris new additions to the circuit.
Dates for the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series will be announced in due course.