Teen refs get Currie Cup taste
Cape Town - A programme to give aspiring teenaged referees a taste of top level officiating has been launched in the Currie Cup.
Each week high school learners will become part of the officiating team - without having any official duties - in an innovative scheme to promote refereeing as a career.
Sixteen-year-old Diamantveld High School learner, LM Joubert, was the first youngster to experience the inside world of the match officials when he joined the Shadow the Ref programme in Kimberley on Saturday.
The initiative, launched by the SA Rugby Referees’ Association, is being run on a trial basis for the remainder of the 2012 Currie Cup competition. It is designed to increase awareness of refereeing and to provide opportunities for scholars to experience an afternoon with a high-profile referee, hopefully encouraging more youngsters to take up the whistle.
The referee’s shadow will:
• Join the match-day referee before the game
• Receive a branded golf shirt
• Accompany the referee on his pre-match preparations
• Sit beside the field with the No 4 and No 5 match officials
• Act as the water carrier for the match officials
• End the day with a souvenir photograph of the occasion
“High schools are a great place for learner referees to start honing their skills,” said SARU General Manager Referees André Watson.
“And the more we can encourage high-school learners to become referees, the more chance we have of increasing the number of match officials serving all levels of the game.”
“We have a real shortage of refs in South Africa and this is one of our activities to encourage more to join the refereeing ranks.”
The young Joubert is a registered referee with the Griquas Referee Society, and has completed the BokSmart programme along with the IRB Level One and the assistant referee courses. He regularly referees at the U14 and U15 level and has performed assistant referee duties for more senior teams.
“Our goal is to have a trained referee and two trained assistant referees in charge of every game of rugby played in South Africa: that’s the ideal,” says Watson. “At the moment we’re short of that. Through the referee-shadow programme we hope to interest other youngsters to take up the whistle and make this dream a reality.”
The trial shadow the referee programme is currently open only to learners attending high school in South Africa who have already completed some form of referee training and are registered with their provincial referee society. This may, however, be expanded in the 2013 season.
This weekend’s referee shadows are:
Golden Lions vs Griquas (David Mosiane); Border Bulldogs vs The Griffons (Eloise Webb); EP Kings vs Falcons (Dylan Dorfling); Sharks vs Free State Cheetahs (Martin Lotter); WP vs Blue Bulls (Devon Lewis); Pumas vs SWD Eagles (Basia van der Merwe); Leopards vs Boland Cavaliers (Christo Erasmus).
\Following LM Joubert’s successful debut on television as the ref’s shadow in the U21 game between Griquas and Griffons, the local referee society received several enquiries from high-school learners interested in becoming referees. Here, match officials Reuben Rossouw (left) and Stefan Geldenhuys (right) pose with a proud-as-punch Joubert. (Photo: SARU)