Cape Town - South African referees Craig Joubert, Rasta Rasivhenge,
Marius van der Westhuizen, Ben Crouse and Aimee Barrett were named among an
elite group of international referees selected to officiate at the 2016 Rio
Olympic Games in August, World Rugby announced on Monday.
Crouse, Joubert, Van der Westhuizen and Rasivhenge were
named on the 12-member panel for the men’s tournament, from August 9-11, while Rasivhenge will double up on
the panel named for the women’s tournament alongside Barrett from August
6-8 at the Deodora Stadium
in Rio de Janeiro.
2016 Games marking 92 years since rugby featured at the Olympics, the
tournament will mark a significant occasion in each of the five referees’
Joubert, in particular, it will have extra significance, as he will add Olympic
Games participation to a career that includes the Rugby World Cup Final in
2011, as well as the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Barrett, meanwhile, represented South Africa in the 2010
Women’s Rugby World Cup, and featured in the Springbok Women and Bok Women’s
Sevens teams between 2008 and 2010 before turning her focus to refereeing.
She was named on the SA Rugby Sevens and Women’s referee
panels for the 2016 season, and made her debut as a referee on the World Rugby
Women’s Sevens Series in Atlanta this past weekend. She will again be in action
in the Canada Sevens in Langford on Saturday and Sunday.
“I would like to congratulate Ben, Craig, Marius, Rasta and
Aimee for this special achievement, as only the best of the best are selected
to officiate at the Olympic Games and World Cups, so we are very proud of them
all,” said SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux.
“This achievement is a testament of the hard work they have
been putting in over the last few months and years, while it is also an
indication of their consistency as referees.
“I would like to make a special mention of Rasta’s selection
as he has been named on the men’s and women’s referee panels, which is a
“I wish all the referees the best of luck as they prepare
for the tournament over the next few months, and at the showpiece
thanked his colleagues for embracing his return to the Sevens Rugby referee
panel following the news and said: “A few years ago when I first heard
that rugby was to be an Olympic sport, I started dreaming about returning to
“The environment remains as close-knit as I remember, and
the welcome from the sevens family has been exceptionally warm. I’m thrilled to
be selected in this group of officials as we build towards the Olympic Games in
was equally delighted about his selection and said: “It’s a dream come
true for me; it’s something I have always dreamed of being a part of, as this
is the biggest stage of all when it comes to competitive sport. It’s a
life-changing opportunity and an experience that will start a new era in my
A thrilled Barrett added: “It is an honour to be named on
the Olympic Games referee panel. Only this past weekend I made my first
appearance as a referee on the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series in the Atlanta
tournament, so to be named on the Olympic Games panel is truly a dream come
Olympic Games men’s referee panel:
Mike Adamson (Scotland), Federico Anselmi
(Argentina), Nick Briant (New Zealand), Ben Crouse (South Africa), Craig
Joubert (South Africa), Richard Kelly (New Zealand), Anthony Moyes (Australia),
Matt O’Brien (Australia), Taku Otsuki (Japan), Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa),
Alexandre Ruiz (France), Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Olympic Games women’s referee panel:
Aimee Barrett (South Africa), Jess Beard (New Zealand), Beatrice
Benvenutti (Italy), James Bolabiu (Fiji), Sara Cox (England),
Sakurako Kawasaki (Japan), Rose La Breche (Canada), Gabriel Lee (Hong
Kong), Alhambra Nievas (Spain), Amy Perrett (Australia), Alex Pratt (Scotland), Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa)