Rasta and Ben head to Frisco
Rasta Rasivhenge and Ben Crouse are off to San Francisco in July to referee at the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens for men and women.
The Sevens World Cup takes place every four years. The first men's tournament was in Scotland in 1993, the first women's tournament in 2009.
The six men's tournaments have been won by England, Fiji (twice), New Zealand (twice) and Wales. The nearest South Africa has come is as runner-up in 1997.
There have been two women's tournaments, one won by Australia, the other by New Zealand. South Africa's best achievement was a semifinal in 2009.
This year's even will take place in San Francisco on 20-22 July 2018, the middle of the Californian summer. AT&T Park on the waterfront, the home of the San Francisco Giants, is the venue for the matches. There is great excitement for the event and over 60 000 tickets have already been sold.
Paddy O'Brien has announced the 19 referees to attend the two World Cups. They come from 14 =different countries and will referee 84 matches over the three days.
Included amongst the referees are Rasivhenge and Alhambra Nievas of Spain. They refereed the Sevens finals at the Rio Olympics in 2016 and were chosen jointly for the referee of the Year award. In 2017 that award went to Joy Neville of Ireland.
Referees for the Men's Sevens of 24 teams: Craig Evans (Wales), Sam Grove-White (Scotland), Richard Haughton (England), Richard Kelly (New Zealand), Damon Murphy (Australia), Mike O'Brien (USA), Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa), Matt Rodden (Hong Kong), Jérémy Rozier (France), Damian Schneider (Argentina).
Referees for the Women's Sevens of 16 teams: Beatrice Benvenuti (Italy), Sara Cox (England), Ben Crouse (South Africa), Hollie Davidson (Scotland), Adam Jones (Wales), Sakurako Kawasaki (Japan), Rebecca Mahoney (New Zealand), Joy Neville (Ireland), Alhambra Nievas (Spain).
Of the men Haughton played Sevens for England, Murphy for Australia. Of the women, Joy Neville played for and captained Ireland, and Rebecca O' Mahoney was twice in the winning team at the Woremens Rugby World Cup.
World Rugby’s high performance Sevens referees manager Paddy O’Brien said: "The Rugby World Cup Sevens comes around only once in every four years and is a major highlight of the rugby Sevens calendar. Just like the players, our team of highly experienced match officials are preparing themselves both mentally and physically, ready to play their part in what is destined to be an outstanding showcase of rugby Sevens in an iconic venue.”
Banks Yantolo, SA Rugby’s referee manager, said: “This is a wonderful achievement for Rasta and Ben and we are extremely proud of them being selected to the final panel.
“Both have done very well on the Sevens fields of the world and this is a well-deserved call-up to them.”