Former referee Mzwamadoda “Banks” Yantolo has been appointed as SA Rugby’s new Referees Manager as a slight restructure will see the Referees Department henceforth operate within the Rugby Department based at SA Rugby’s offices in Cape Town.
Yantolo became a referee in 2003, but he switched his focus to being a Referee Selector after a knee injury ended his refereeing career. One of the highlights of his career was being appointed as a World Rugby Sevens Selector and Referee Reviewer at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow in 2013.
To ensure a swift transition to the new structure, the Referees Department has been relocated from Johannesburg to Cape Town. Yantolo, who started in his new position last month, reports to Rassie Erasmus, General Manager of the Rugby Department.
“We strive to be the best in every aspect of the game and our referees department certainly forms one of the key elements of the game,” said SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux.
“Over the years we have produced some of the best referees in the world, and by grooming our referees correctly and equipping them with all the necessary skills from understanding and analysing the Laws of the game to writing referee reports, we hope to see many more of our referees being named on World Rugby panels in future.”
On the decision to move the Referees Department into the Rugby Department, Roux said: “If we would like to be the leading rugby nation in the world we need to have the best players, coaches and referees.
“They all work in sync because the referees assist the players with Law interpretation and the correct implementation of the Laws, while our Mobi-Unit coaching team now has direct access to both the players and referees, which will ensure that the department functions optimally.”
The SA Rugby Referees Department kicked off their 2016 season last month with a four-day camp in Cape Town, which featured fitness tests and seminars focusing on the different aspects of the game to ensure that they continue to make their presence felt among the top referees in World Rugby.
The camp included an extensive Rugby Laws examination and was attended by referees, television match officials (TMO’s), selectors, coaches and performance reviewers.