SANZAAR has announced the 19-man referee team that will officiate the 2017 Super Rugby season. It contains a mix of seasoned professionals, several referees who now have one to two years of Super Rugby behind them and one rookie in former Stormers player Egon Seconds.

The team comprises seven New Zealanders, six South Africans, four Australians and one from Japan and one from Argentina.

“The team is a nice blend of Test and Super Rugby experience and emerging talent and is very settled as we head into another season. The experience in the team comes from Jaco Peyper and Glen Jackson, who have refereed over 50 matches each, while we also have a group around the 30 mark including Angus Gardner, Nick Briant and Mike Fraser,” said Game Manager, Lyndon Bray.

“Interestingly there are four former Super Rugby players in the team, Glen Jackson, Nic Berry, Jamie Nutbrown and Egon Seconds. All of the referees also recently attended a Super Rugby referee camp in Sydney last week and are well prepared for kick-off later this month,” added Bray.

2017 Super Rugby Referee Team

Federico Anselmi (Argentina)

Nic Berry (Australia)
Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Angus Gardner (Australia)
Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)
Will Houston (Australia)
Quinton Immelman (South Africa)
Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Shuhei Kubo (Japan)
Jamie Nutbrown (New Zealand)
Ben O’Keeffe (new Zealand)
Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa)
Egon Seconds (South Africa)
Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Jaco van Heerden (South Africa)
Paul Williams (New Zealand)

SANZAAR Referee Camp

A SANZAAR Referee Team camp was completed in Sydney recently with the team going through its paces; testing their physical, mental and technical skills.

SANZAAR Game Manager, Lyndon Bray, stated the importance of finding ways to put the referees under the same type of game pressure that they experience on the field.

"The camp agenda was planned around creating strong clarity of what we are trying to achieve in the game and then using different skills-based activities to then put them under physical and mental pressure, while having to make game related decisions at the same time."

Glen Jackson, the ex-Chiefs player and now a leading referee in Super Rugby, worked with the physical strength and conditioning coaches to put together some skills based scenarios, mixing in the task of different referees being called out of the activity and having to then watch a tackle, line out, scrum or maul clip, and through the Match Communication gear, then communicate that decision to another team mate. He then communicated the decision to a recorder.

This work tested both the accuracy of the referees across all the clips, as well as their communication across their team.  This was all done while maintaining a game of touch rugby, or some other ball game.

Earlier in the camp, the referees worked through a desk-based virtual challenge exercise that simulated climbing a mountain! Placed in climbing teams of eight, the referees were faced with a series of challenging decisions, on their way to try to reaching the peak of Mount Cook in New Zealand.

"This activity was the start of the camp and it was a fantastic way to force the boys out of their comfort zone and challenge the way they work as a team, Bray said. "This really challenged the way they work as a team of four within the 80 minutes of the game.

The second day enabled them to take the learnings of the virtual mountain climb and challenge their 'current state' of thinking in relation to how they work with their assistants and the television match official."

Over the four day camp, the referees also worked through the feedback from the Super Rugby referee coaches, the learning points from their own 2016 season reviews and the more experienced referees led the team through the rugby related phases of the game, seeking to ensure greater consistency of approach.

"It was a really focused, energised and committed four days and I was really impressed with their work ethic and commitment.  But now, the proof of the pudding will be in how we as a team referee the games,” added Bray.

So now, bring on the games and let the action begin!