Jonathan Kaplan - Set to become the first man to officiate a 100 Super Rugby games. Photo by Getty Images.
SANZAR would like to acknowledge the significant milestone that will be achieved when Jonathan Kaplan runs out on to the field to control the Cheetahs v Sharks match this weekend. Kaplan will referee his 100th Super Rugby match, the first time a referee has hit the ton.
Kaplan’s 68 tests, 99 Super Rugby matches and 150 Currie Cup matches are all records, a tribute to the Durban born whistle-blowers longevity. Along with this, Kaplan has attended four Rugby World Cup tournaments, overseen five Currie Cup Finals, and controlled three Super Rugby Finals.
Only the latter is not a record, with fellow South African Andre Watson having overseen five Super Rugby Finals.
Kaplan began referring in the Eighties while still a high school student, and was appointed to a South African Rugby Union referee’s panel for the first time in 1993, before overseeing his first international in 1996 in Harare, before making his Super Rugby debut the following year.
His first ever Super Rugby match was the Cheetahs v Lions at Free State Stadium in the City of Roses, so he returns to where it all began 99 Super Rugby matches later.
SANZAR CEO Greg Peters paid tribute to Kaplan, who has already publicly registered his intention to retire at the end of the 2013 rugby season, making this Super Rugby campaign (his 16th overall) his last.
“Jonathan has always been a referee who empathises with the game, and therefore has enabled teams to play with confidence,” Peters said.
“It is indeed a very special moment for JK, and a great occasion for the refereeing team in Super Rugby.”
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!