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Rasta Ends Great Sevens Career

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Fhatuwani Rasivhenge, probably the best-known Sevens referee in the world, whom the rugby world knows as Rasta, has decided that the World Rugby Sevens Tournament in Cape Town will be his last Sevens tournament as he then wishes to concentrate on 15-a-side rugby where he has already achieved great things.

By Paul Dobson, Moonsport

Rasivhenge, who is only 32 and just seems to have been around forever, has travelled the world refereeing Sevens and achieved all that there is for a Sevens referee to achieve.

Probably his top achievement came in 2016 when he refereed the men's final at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro while Alhambra Nievas of Spain refereed the women's final and both received the Referee of the Year award.

Schooled at Jeppe High School for Boys in Johannesburg, Rasivhenge started refereeing when a student at the Witwatersrand University in 2007 and joined the Golden Lions Referees' Society. His progress was rapid, as was his athletic ability around the rugby field with dreadlocks which earned him his nickname.

In 2011 he started his career on the Sevens Circuit. In 2013 he refereed the final of the Sevens Rugby World Cup and then went on to referee at two Commonwealth Games, the Olympic Games and, in 2018, the final of the Sevens World Cup in San Francisco.

Paddy O'Brien, a great referee himself in his active days and now World Rugby's manager of Sevens referees, said of him: “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.

“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 in his future endeavours.”

The potential at 15-a-side is not entirely untapped.

In South Africa his career development was rapid. In 2010, he was on a South African panel and refereeing Vodacom Cup. The next year he refereed Currie Cup rugby and in 2015 he became the youngest referee ever to referee a Currie Cup Final. In 2016 he became a Super Rugby Referee and that year became a Test referee. His most recent test was in Russia in November.

A great career with the real possibility of further greatness. 

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