SANZAR referees meet

Tue, 28 Jan 2014 10:26
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Jason Jaftha, who is on SANZAR's panel of Super Rugby referees for 2014, was part of the South African delegation which attended the conference. He reports on what happened.

Jason Jaftha, who is on SANZAR's panel of Super Rugby referees for 2014, was part of the South African delegation which attended the conference. He reports on what happened.

The flight on 17 January was the first of the year for now we were back to the SANZAR camp to prepare ourselves for the rugby season ahead. It was a long flight to Sydney and once we got to the hotel there was a real buzz amongst the referee team about this year Super Rugby competition. With travelling these long hours and changing time zones, jet lag always finds a way into our bodies. SANZAR referees are passionate rugby people. Even though refereeing is seen as an individual sport, we try and bring team cultures to keep the camaraderie and stick together as a entity.

In our preparations as we become a professional outfit there are a lot of people that contribute to our preparation for the upcoming Super Rugby season. Lyndon Bray as the SANZAR game manager led the discussion points around game issues that were highlighted . Also playing a part in this were the selectors in the form of Mark Lawrence (SA), Andrew Cole (Australia) and Paul Honiss. (New Zealand) This year saw the introduction of Balie Swart as the scrum guru who joins the SANZAR team on a full-time basis. Also on board from this year is Matt Blair who will look after the Physical pillar of the referees.

The duration of the course is normally three days. Each day had a rude awakening session with Matt Blair which had a bit of everything to get the blood flowing for the day ahead. Afternoon sessions with Matt Blair varied from reaction drill test to speed test and endurance. Also checking your hydration status before the start of each day was insightful and a new learning. This was a new initiative brought in this year and definitely is something to stay.

Game issues that were discussed over the few days were Quick Ball (Tackle), Space (Offside), Positive scrum, Contest - just to name a few topics that were dealt with over the few days.

The final day of the Camp always turns into the highlight of the course as a certain theme is given to the night. This year's theme was SANZAR REFS HAVE TALENT and, boy oh boy, did the referees deliver their off-field talent. (Lets say what happens on tour stays on tour.) The evening kicked off with some poker as team Australia won this event hands tied. The quiz competition was won by team SA and then the highlight of the evening was definitely from team South Africa, the Magic tricks of Mark Lawrence. I still can't believe how he does all his tricks as some people in the audience thought it would be wise to upstage Mark Lawrence. Then entered Balie Swart and made Mark Lawrence look bad at his own magic with a handkerchief. Balie set the one he got for the trick on fire. Let's leave it there as I might end up in trouble for sharing that secret of what happened on the night.

SANZAR Camp was an amazing experience, from meeting new members in our squad to catching up with some old friends and faces again, exploring the city and really rubbing shoulders with some of the best referees in the world. I really enjoyed the camp and looking forward to the season ahead

By Jason Jaftha

Super Rugby Referee Squad for 2014

Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Angus Gardner (Australia)
Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)
Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Jason Jaftha (South Africa)
Craig Joubert (South Africa)
James Leckie (Australia)
Andrew Lees (Australia)
Matt O'Brien (Australia)
Francisco Pastrana (Argentina)
Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa)
Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Steve Walsh (Australia)
Garratt Williamson (New Zealand)