Cape Town - Retired referee Jonathan Kaplan says Craig
Joubert is South Africa’s best referee.
Kaplan’s Top 5 South Africa referees heading into the 2014 season:
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
1. Craig Joubert
2. Jaco Peyper
3. Stuart Berry
4. Marius van der Westhuizen
5. Jason Japhta