Rugby

Joubert SA’s best - Kaplan

2014-01-30 16:00
Craig Joubert (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Retired referee Jonathan Kaplan says Craig Joubert is South Africa’s best referee.

Speaking on his official Facebook page, Kaplan said: “Craig Joubert is unquestionably the best referee in SA at the moment. Besides his big match experience, he has the intelligence and charisma to be the flag bearer and is probably one of the two best in the world at the moment.”

Kaplan rated Jaco Peyper as the second best and also had plaudits for the others next in line, singling out Jason Japhta as having the most X-factor of any referee out there.

“Jaco Peyper is a legitimate No 2 and is highly regarded for his steady approach as well as his ability to apply key sanctions and stay detached from (the) outcome. Both (Joubert and Peyper) are very fit and should be around for the next six years or so.

“Of the rest, there are numerous who are throwing their name into the hat! Marius van der Westhuizen has had a meteoric rise in the space of a couple of years and besides being a good guy has reconditioned himself and is a good listener and learner.

“I could say the same of Rasta Rashivenge who has followed a very similar path to Marius. He has been an outstanding Sevens referee with his extraordinary fitness and with a bit more time in the 15-man code and a few more scars can develop his game understanding nicely. He has a character that all people warm to which is a great asset.

“Jason Japhta has a lot more experience than both listed above and has the greatest X-factor of any referee in world rugby at the moment with his ability to get and keep a game going. He does have a few things to work on but has few peers when it comes to natural ability.

“Stu Berry is also there and there abouts recently having refereed his first Test match. Not blessed with much hair, he more than makes up for it with his management and communication skill set. A sensible referee with strong intellect, many will gravitate to his style.

“Lourens van der Merwe has improved tremendously over the past few seasons and was deservedly rewarded with a few Test matches over the past two years. Had a tough year last year with form but I know is very determined to bounce back."

Kaplan, 47, retired from top level refereeing after last year’s Currie Cup final.

Kaplan’s Top 5 South Africa referees heading into the 2014 season:

1. Craig Joubert
2. Jaco Peyper
3. Stuart Berry
4. Marius van der Westhuizen
5. Jason Japhta

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