Super Rugby Referees in Camp
The 15 Super Rugby referees, selected in 2018 for the 2019 season which starts in February, were at a week’s camp at the Clearwater resort in Christchurch on New Zealand’s South Island.
The 15 referees are:
Argentina: Federico Anselmi
Australia: Nic Berry, Angus Gardner, Damon Murphy
New Zealand: Nick Briant, Mike Fraser, Glen Jackson, Ben O’Keeffe, Brendon Pickerill, Paul Williams
South Africa: AJ Jacobs, Jaco Peyper, Egon Seconds, Rasta Rasivhenge, Marius van der Westhuizen
The new man on the panel is Australia’s Damon Murphy, a Queenslander. He played Super Rugby for Melbourne Rebels and played Sevens for Australia. Others who are former Super Rugby players are Berry, Jackson and Seconds. Murphy apart, the other referees were all on the Super Rugby panel in 2018 though AJ Jacobs is yet to be appointed to referee a match.
Peyper, who has been refereeing Super Rugby since 2009, is the most experienced of the referees.
Six of the panel – Berry, Gardener, Jackson, O’Keeffe, Peyper and Williams – are amongst the 14 referees who will be refereeing Six Nations matches in the next two months.
The organiser was SANZAAR’s referee manager, Lyndon Bray, himself a Test referee in his day and with him were the high performance referees managers Mitch Chapman of Australia, Paul Honiss of New Zealand and Mark Lawrence of South Africa. Chapman played Super Rugby for 10 years; Honiss and Lawrence are former Test and Super Rugby referees.
Much time at the camp was spent on developing team work amongst referees. Super Rugby plans to have teams of three working together during most of Super Rugby, giving them a better chance to gel as a team.
A day spent with the Crusaders set-up was precisely to develop teamwork, learning from Super Rugby’s most successful franchise their high performance culture and the importance of a communication structure under pressure.
Furthermore the All Black coaches, Steve Hansen and Ian Foster, spoke to the referees about top level preparation and performance review. The referees found their ideas most enriching.
New Zealander Jamie Tout dealt with fitness and Warren Kennaugh addressed the mental/psychological side of refereeing at a high level.
Law application was not neglected. The emphasis was on consistency at scrum, tackle and phase play.
It was a good week.