SA’s top sevens ref moves on

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - Sport -

South African ref­eree Rasta Ra­sivhenge is set to make his last HSBC World Rugby Sevens Se­ries ap­pear­ance this week­end when he takes the whis­tle at the HSBC Cape Town sevens tour­na­ment af­ter de­cid­ing to turn his full at­ten­tion to ref­er­ee­ing in fif­teens from the start of the 2019 sea­son.

The for­mer math­e­mat­ics teacher turned pro­fes­sional ref­eree has made im­pres­sive progress up the lo­cal junior ranks into the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Se­ries, Vo­da­com Su­per Rugby and Test match grades over the last few years.

Ra­sivhenge took up the whis­tle in 2007 and worked his way up the ranks to the SA Rugby na­tional panel. It did not take him long to break into the elite panel and since then he has es­tab­lished him­self as a lead­ing ref­eree on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Se­ries.

He is cur­rently a mem­ber of the West­ern Prov­ince Rugby Ref­er­ees’ So­ci­ety.

World Rugby Sevens ref­eree man­ager Paddy O’Brien said Ra­sivhenge had been the most suc­cess­ful sevens ref­eree in the his­tory of the game, hav­ing ref­er­eed the Olympic fi­nal in Rio in 2016, and the RWC Sevens fi­nals of 2013 (Moscow) and 2018 (San Fran­cisco), plus count­less play­off matches dur­ing his suc­cess­ful six-year stint on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Se­ries.

“Rasta was given an op­por­tu­nity to ref­eree in the 2018 Vo­da­com Su­per Rugby com­pe­ti­tion and as a re­sult of im­press­ing the San­zaar man­age­ment in his de­but year, it is im­por­tant that he now con­cen­trates on the longer form of the game with­out the dis­trac­tion of sevens so he can be given the op­por­tu­nity to reach his full po­ten­tial,” O’Brien said.

Ra­sivhenge has more than 250 sevens games un­der his belt and O’Brien says he be­lieves the en­vi­ron­ment and team cul­ture he has been sur­rounded with over the past six years will hold him in ex­cel­lent stead go­ing for­ward.

“Rasta has played a huge part in en­sur­ing that sevens ref­er­ee­ing is at the level of the play­ing of the game and he will be missed by our man­age­ment and his peers,” O’Brien said.

“How­ever, he has un­tapped po­ten­tial in the fif­teens game and it is quite clear he has a bright fu­ture ahead of him. We wish him all the best.”

SA Rugby se­nior man­ager for ref­er­ees Banks Yan­tolo thanked Ra­sivhenge for his out­stand­ing duty on the sevens cir­cuit and wished him well.

“Rasta has been a model of con­sis­tency and has per­formed with dis­tinc­tion in a stel­lar sixyear pe­riod on the sevens cir­cuit, where he is a re­spected and pop­u­lar of­fi­cial,” he said

“It is very fit­ting that he will take the whis­tle for the last time in a sevens tour­na­ment here in South Africa, in front of a fan­tas­tic crowd at this week­end’s tour­na­ment in Cape Town, and we want to wish him well as he em­barks on a full-time fif­teens ref­er­ee­ing ca­reer.” – SA Rugby Com­mu­ni­ca­tions

Pho­to­graph: GALLO IM­AGES

NEW CHAL­LENGE: Rasta Ra­sivhenge will ref his fi­nal sevens event this week­end

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