2019 Super Rugby Referee Panel
On Monday, 4 February 2019, SANZAAR announced the 15-man panel of referees who will officiate in the 2019 Super Rugby season.
It is a mix of experienced international referees, several referees with one or two years Super Rugby behind them and some emerging referee talent in the form of South African AJ Jacobs and Australia’s Damon Murphy.
AJ Jacobs was on the Super Rugby panel last year but not appointed to referee any matches. Of the 2018 referees, three are no longer there – Will Houston, Shuhei Kubo and Jamie Nutbrown.
The new referee on the panel, which has been reduced from 17 to 15, is Damon Murphy. The Queenslander played on the wing for the Reds and the Melbourne Rebels, and captained the Australian Sevens team.
In each Super Rugby match in 2019, SANZAAR will appoint the referee, the assistant referees and the TMO, while reserving the right to use match officials from outside the team of 15. This allows for the development of local talent.
Super Rugby Game Manager, Lyndon Bray said: “The team is a well balanced mix of referees with Test and Super Rugby experience and several emerging referees who now have one or two seasons under their belt. The experience in the team comes from Jaco Peyper and Glen Jackson, who have refereed 95 and 77 respectively, while we also have a group around the 40-60 mark including Angus Gardner, Nick Briant, Ben O’Keeffe and Mike Fraser. Making their Super Rugby debuts this year will be AJ Jacobs and Damon Murphy.
“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.”
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 internationals in Europe. Plus we have Nic Berry, Jaco Peyper, Glen Jackson, Ben O’Keeffe, Angus Gardner and Paul Williams taking charge of Six Nations in a couple of months time.”
Referees by Country
The number in brackets is the number of Super Rugby matches each referee has refereed.
Argentina: Federico Anselmi (14)
Australia: Nic Berry (21), Angus Gardner (62), Damon Murphy (0)
New Zealand: Nick Briant (50), Mike Fraser (48), Glen Jackson (77), Ben O’Keeffe (36), Brendon Pickerill (18), Paul Williams (19)
South Africa: AJ Jacobs (0), Jaco Peyper (95), Rasta Rasivhenge (15), Egon Seconds (4), Marius van der Westhuizen (35)