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Super Rugby Final Referees & match officials

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Article Published: Thursday 7 July 2011|

This weekend will see the 19th Super Rugby Final and for the first time Bryce Lawrence will referee a final making him the 11th referee for a Super Rugby final.

Again this year, the appointment to the final is on merit. The SANZAR men empowered with the choice have decided that Lawrence is the best-performing referee in the Super 15 this year.

Earlier for many years in Super Rugby referees did not referee in their own countries or in matches involving teams from their own countries.

The first-ever Super Rugby Final was the final of the Super 10 in 1993. Transvaal played Auckland in Johannesburg and the referee was Freek Burger of South Africa. After that (not because of that!) 'unattached' referees were used.

That changed to 'merit appointments' in 2009 when Jonathan Kaplan of South Africa refereed the Super 14 Final in South Africa between the South African Bulls and the New Zealand Chiefs.

Up till now the 18 Super Finals have been refereed by ten referees.

At least because South African teams have so often been absent from finals and the principle of appointing unattached referees applied, South Africans have refereed more finals than referees from the other two countries - six of them for 11 matches.

New Zealand teams have been missing from five Super Rugby Finals. Their three referees have refereed five finals. One of the Super Finals was when both finalists were New Zealand teams and one when both finalists were South African teams.

Australian teams have been missing from eight finals. One Australian has refereed a final, when the finalists were from New Zealand and South Africa.

Andre Watson has refereed most finals, followed by Paddy O'Brien. Both of them have retired as have Freek Burger, Glen Wahlstrom, Wayne Erickson and Tappe Henning.

That means that the only referees to have refereed a final and remain active are Jonathan Kaplan, Mark Lawrence, Steve Walsh and Craig Joubert. Bryce Lawrence will join that group.

All the referees who have refereed Super Rugby Finals have been Test referees.

The referees, by number of appointments, have been:
5 - Andre Watson
3 - Paddy O'Brien, Jonathan Kaplan
1 - Freek Burger, Glen Wahlstrom, Wayne Erickson, Tappe Henning, Steve Walsh, Mark Lawrence, Craig Joubert

Super Rugby Finals:

Super 10:

1993: Transvaal vs Queensland, 20-17 at Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Referee: Freek Burger (South Africa)

1994: Queensland vs Natal, 21-10 at Ballymore, Brisbane
Referee; Glen Wahlstrom (New Zealand)

1995: Queensland vs Transvaal, 30-16 at Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Referee: Paddy O'Brien (New Zealand)

Super 12 :

1996: Auckland vs Natal, 45-21 at Eden Park, Auckland
Referee: Wayne Erickson (Australia)

1997: Auckland Blues vs ACT Brumbies, 23-7 at Eden Park, Auckland
Referee: Tappe Henning (South Africa)

1998: Canterbury Crusaders vs Auckland Blues, 20-13 at Eden Park, Auckland
Referee: Paddy O'Brien (New Zealand)

1999: Canterbury Crusaders vs Otago Highlanders, 24-19 at Carisbrook, Dunedin
Referee: Andre Watson (South Africa)

2000: Crusaders vs Brumbies, 20-19 at Bruce Stadium, Canberra
Referee: Andre Watson (South Africa)

2001: Brumbies vs Sharks, 30-6 at Bruce Stadium, Canberra
Referee: Paddy O'Brien (New Zealand)

2002: Crusaders vs Brumbies, 31-13 at Jade Stadium, Christchurch
Referee: Andre Watson (South Africa)

2003: Blues vs Crusaders, 21-17 at Eden Park, Auckland
Referee: Andre Watson (South Africa)

2004: Brumbies vs Crusaders, 47-38 at Canberra Stadium
Referee: Andre Watson (South Africa)

2005: Crusaders vs Waratahs, 35-25 at Jade Stadium, Christchurch
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)

Super 14:

2006: Crusaders vs Hurricanes, 19-12 at Jade Stadium, Christchurch
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)

2007: Sharks vs Bulls, 20-19 at Absa Stadium, Durban
Referee: Steve Walsh (New Zealand)

2008: Crusaders vs Waratahs, 20-12 at AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Referee: Mark Lawrence (South Africa)

2009: Bulls vs Chiefs, 61-17 at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)

2010: Bulls vs Stormers, 24-17 at Orlando Stadium, Soweto
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)

Super 15 Final

Reds vs Crusaders at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Referee: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Stuart Dickinson (Australia), Vinny Munro (New Zealand)
Television match official: George Ayoub (Australia)

With thanks to SAReferees.

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