29 Jan 2018
AJ Jacobs is the only new Super Rugby referee for 2018. The other 16 referees on the panel were all there last year - referees from Argentina, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Africa, the five countries that take part in SANZAAR's Super Rugby.
By Paul Dobson, Moonsport
Three of last year's panel are no longer there - Jaco van Heerden, who has retired from refereeing to concentrate on his legal practice, and Stuart Berry and Quinton Immelman who are now PRO14 referees.
Jacobs - full name Adriaan Mauritz Jacobs - was a provincial player teaching at his old school, Welkom Gimnasium, and, as teachers do, refereeing rugby when the late Jan Pienaar, chairman if the Griffons Referees' Society, saw him refereeing and persuaded him to join the Society, which Jacobs did in 2010.
His big breakthrough came in 2015 when he refereed the main match at the Craven Week at Paul Roos and was appointed to his first premier division Currie Cup match. In 2017 he was promoted to South Africa's elite panel and now he has further recognition.
The 2018 Super Rugby Panel of Referees
Jaco Peyper is the most experienced Super Rugby referee on the panel, having referees 82 matches, followed by Glen Jackson with 65.
Federico Anselmi (Argentina, 8)
Nic Berry (Australia, 10)
Nick Briant (New Zealand, 41)
Mike Fraser (New Zealand, 40)
Angus Gardner (Australia, 47)
Will Houston (Australia, 9)
AJ Jacobs (South Africa, 0)
Glen Jackson (New Zealand, 65)
Shuhei Kubo (Japan, 8)
Jamie Nutbrown (New Zealand, 8)
Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand, 24)
Jaco Peyper (South Africa, 82)
Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand, 12)
Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa, 8)
Egon Seconds (South Africa, 4)
Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa, 28)
Paul Williams (New Zealand, 11)