Jasper Wiese from Griquas CD during day 4 of the 21 Coca-Cola Craven Week in Port Elizabeth.
Port Elizabeth 12 July 2012 - The Coca-Cola SA Rugby youth weeks that take place at this time each year are all about the cream of South Africa’s school rugby players showing their stuff on the rugby field, but it goes a lot further than that in a number of ways.
One of the more important side-activities taking place at each of the four weeks – the Coca-Cola under-13 Craven Week, the under-16 Grant Khomo Week, the National Academy week and the under-18 Craven Week – is the evaluation and coaching of SA Rugby’s referee contenders.
SA Rugby’s manager of referees, Andre Watson has been at the under-18 week in Port Elizabeth all week and he says the opportunities offered by these tournaments are ideal for them to have an intensive look at the next generation of provincial panel referees.
“We don’t use the Craven Week as a proving ground for inexperienced newcomers,” Watson stresses. “All of these referees are capable of refereeing at this level, for us it’s about their further development and about identifying which of them are ready to take the next step up.”
The process is managed by veteran refereeing administrator, Gabby Pappas, and it’s quite an operation.
“We have referee evaluators, coaches and mentors here and every decision the referees on the field make, or don’t make, is scrutinised,” Watson says. “We use a sophisticated software package called Fair Play that allows our evaluators to note, with the click of a mouse, every action of a referee that needs to be looked at later.
“Each incident is recorded and the referee receives a package of all of those to do a self-evaluation and they are then discussed with the evaluators and remedial action is taken, if necessary.
The seriousness of the process is illustrated by the involvement, among others, of Watson himself and former Test referee Tappe Henning. South Africa’s latest addition to the international panel, Jaco Pyper is also there, providing peer support to the referees, on a one-to-one basis.
“We believe that exercises like this are what have made South African referees among the best in the game,” Watson says. “We are bringing through as many quality referees each year as our colleagues are producing quality new players,” he says. “The Coca-Cola Youth Week play a massive part in that process.
“All Coca-Cola Youth Weeks, of which there are four, are aimed at identifying and nurturing talent within South Africa,” said Coca-Cola SA Marketing Asset Manager, Craig Van Niekerk. “Making it possible to develop all aspects of the game through the various Coca-Cola Rugby Youth Weeks is amazing and we are proud to be the sponsor to make it possible.”
About The Coca-Cola Company
The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is the world’s largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands. Led by Coca-Cola, the world’s most valuable brand, our Company’s portfolio features 15 billion dollar brands including Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply, Georgia and Del Valle. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, ready-to-drink coffees, and juices and juice drinks. Through the world’s largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy our beverages at a rate of 1.8 billion servings a day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our Company is focused on initiatives that reduce our environmental footprint, support active, healthy living, create a safe, inclusive work environment for our associates, and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate. Together with our bottling partners, we rank among the world’s top 10 private employers with more than 700,000 system employees. For more information, please www.thecoca-colacompany.com or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/CocaColaCo.
Rugby enthusiasts are fanatical in their support for their national, regional and local teams. They travel longs distances to attend matches, view broadcasts on television and also the re-broadcasts later in the week! They follow the discussions on television, radio, newspapers and the many rugby websites. They wish to know more and are hungry for information!