Reason #87 Why Maties Ref Academy Is The Place To Be For Rugby Referees

I’ll make a list of the first 86 reasons eventually but here’s

87. The shear number of games and rugby being played in and around Stellenbosch

This week I had the opportunity to referee 9 games ranging from under-13s to club level, practice scrimmages to SA Junior World Championship team trials, and a late evening marathon of 10-minute games to a full blown weekend tournament between two of the most prestigious rugby high schools in the country.

Here are some facts to help me explain just how much rugby there is around here and why I love it:

  • Each Saturday there are over 180 club games in Western Province, and that’s just 1 day of the week
    • Neil, a fellow ref in WP, reffed about 130 games last season
    • Each club in super league A and B in WP is required to field 4 sides, including an Under-20 side
  • Every weekday night at the Danie Craven Stadium (the Maties rugby grounds that we call home base) there are at least 8 simultaneous practices. Sitting in the stadium on Monday evening there were 2 teams practicing in the stadium, 2 more in the practice fields beyond the stadium, and 4 teams practicing on the practice fields behind us.
  • Arrangements for us to ref a Maties club practice (good rugby!) are made spontaneously on the day of
  • Paul Roos Gimnasium, a local high school, fields A to I Under 19 sides- that’s 9, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, NINE, sides for just one age group!!!
  • Between 2 high schools, Paul Roos Gim and Grey High, there were over 20 matches, U14, U15, U16, U19, played at Saturday’s competition
  • SA rugby enjoys the facilities in Stellenbosch as evidence by holding the U20 SA Jr WC trials at Paul Roos
  • Paul Roos highschool has a spectacular clubhouse and stadium overlooking 6 pitches
  • On Friday we watched the Hostel 1st league games – 6 games held simultaneously in the same hour behind the stadium
  • There are 5 leagues for Stellenbosch University’s hostel teams. 5th league plays on Mondays, 4th on Tuesdays, 3rd Wednesdays, 2nd Thursdays, and 1st on Fridays.

What I reffed over 6 days this week:

Tuesday Maties club practice session, scrimmage style
Wednesday Maties club practice session, focus on lineouts
Thursday South Africa U20 Junior World Cup Team Trials: 2 20-minute periods
Thursday U13 boys tournament in Paarl: 3 10-minute games
Saturday Paul Roos v Grey High Interschool competition: 2 U15 games
Saturday Paarl League club game, 1st sides: Lower Paarl v Perel United

I’ve also watched an un-quantifiable amount of rugby this week, from under-8s playing around on a playground to Super Rugby on TV and everything in between. We also have a full schedule next week with reffing gigs every day including WP U15 trials and a full day in Strand.

SO MUCH RUGBY. Clockwise from top left: young boys playing around before the U13 tournament; Tuesday night Maties club practices (if you look closely there’s another team practicing on the fields beyond the stadium); an under-13 boy warming up; scene from the Hostel 1st league games – each field was lined with hundreds of fans; fans of 2 hostel teams leaving the pitch; Maties refs getting prepped and walking into the area with 6 rugby pitches and a team warming up in the background.


Other rugby scenes of the week
Clockwise from top left: a view of the venue at Paul Roos on Saturday – 5 games between 2 schools being played simultaneously; a small VIP crowd on the shaded roof deck of the club house overlooking the fields at Paul Roos; Kahlil, Ryan, and Geoff chilling and awaiting their games on Thursday evening; back to The Happy Oak to watch the Lions v Sharks game on Saturday night; Driving up to the fields in Paarl on Saturday afternoon; attending Paul Roos’ big brag (like a pep rally) on Friday; a packed stadium and loud crowd welcoming the 19Bs at Paul Roos on Saturday
Reason #87 Why Maties Ref Academy Is The Place To Be For Rugby Referees

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