Heap reaps touch rewards
Fresh off being named national touch referee of the year, Richie Heap has been named to control upcoming international matches in Australia.
The 41-year-old Queenstown real estate agent will take charge of games between New Zealand and Australia in the annual Open Trans-Tasman Test Series in Kawana, Queensland in May.
It’s the second time Heap - Southland’s top referee and in the top four referees in New Zealand - has been selected to control the ‘‘big boys’’ after stints refereeing youth internationals.
Heap was looking forward to it. ‘‘They are two leading countries in the world.
‘‘They [players] are machines. ‘‘A lot of the league and rugby clubs will come over to pick up talented players.’’
That’s where New Zealand Warriors star Shaun Johnson was found, Heap said.
The three day event featured one test a day and he hoped to be involved in all.
Along with Heap, Thames Valley’s Miah Williamson, Marlborough’s Cameron MacDonaldPederson and Bay of Plenty’s George Haswell gained selection. They would join five Australian referees at the tournament.
Refereeing under the Touch Southland banner, Heap only started refereeing eight years ago, and is part of the tier-1 elite squad.
He is ranked in the top nine referees in the world.
Touch New Zealand referee Richie Heap, of Queenstown.