Super Rugby's Game Manager, Lyndon Bray, talks about the 2019 referee team and the match official philosophy for the season.
In early February 15-man referee team that will officiate the 2019 Super Rugby season was announced. This followed a comprehensive review of match official performances in 2018 to ensure continued growth in the referee team performance.
The result saw the referee team reduced from 17 to 15 referees. Another outcome from the review has led all match referees, assistant referees and television match official appointments being made by SANZAAR. When required, however, SANZAAR will utilise match officials from outside the team of 15 that allows for the development of local talent. This will include periods when some of the referees are away on international duty at tournaments such as 6 Nations
Super Rugby Game Manager, Lyndon Bray stated, “What is exciting for 2019, is that our 15 referees will be working closely in five pods of three, with each pod refereeing together on as many of their games as is practical (referee and assistant referees). This will inevitably help the efficiency of their teamwork and the way in which they can support each other, both on and off the field.”
“In late January we held our annual pre-season match officials camp in Christchurch, New Zealand. We continued to work on the team’s awareness of the priorities in the game, focusing on set piece, tackle and space on the field. The other key area of the game we identified as a priority is to strengthen our capability around high impact decisions and especially around how our referees use the Television Match Official process,” added Bray.
Super Rugby CEO Andy Marinos said, “Ensuring we deliver world class and best performance match officiating is hugely important to the integrity of Super Rugby which is one of the world’s best rugby tournaments. Super Rugby is leading the way I believe in match officiating and we are constantly adapting and innovating to ensure our match officials are the best they can be.”
"This focus was rewarded in November last year with nine of our referees officiating in international matches in Europe. Plus we have Nic Berry, Jaco Peyper, Glen Jackson, Ben O’Keeffe, Angus Gardner and Paul Williams taking charge of Six Nations matches in a couple of months time,” added Marinos.
2019 Referee Pods:
POD A: Angus Gardner (Leadership Group); Ben O'keeffe (Leadership Group); Damon Murphy
POD B: Jaco Peyper (Leadership Group); Paul Williams; Egon Seconds
POD C: Glen Jackson (Leadership Group); Nick Briant; Federico Anselmi
POD D: Mike Fraser (Leadership Group); Brendon Pickerill; Rasta Ravishenge
POD E: Nic Berry (Leadership Group); Marius van der Westhuizen; AJ Jacobs