Kaplan to officiate tri-nations

South African veteran referee, Jonathan Kaplan, will officiate at the Windhoek Draught Tri-Nations Rugby Series starting tonight.

The Windhoek Draught Tri-Nations Series will mark Kaplan’s last assignment as a professional referee.

Kaplan is the most experienced test referee, with 70 matches, having made his debut as a test referee in 1996 in a match between Namibia and Zimbabwe.

Kaplan was also the referee of the ABSA Currie Cup final between The Sharks and DHL Western Province at DHL Newlands, Cape Town, South Africa, two weeks ago.

During his 17 years-long illustrious career, Kaplan has taken charge of six ABSA Currie Cup finals and three Vodacom Super Rugby finals.

Kaplan has the additional distinction of being the first referee to take charge of 100 Super Rugby matches.

He has also had the honour of handling British and Irish Lions series matches during his tenure.

“In many respects, I am blessed to have had such a long, fruitful career but I could not have achieved this on my own. I needed people to support me and Andre Watson (SARU GM Referees) and his team have been great in that respect. The Absa Currie Cup final was a brilliant sendoff and then to have these two tests come along in Namibia is almost poetic because I have always had a desire to referee in Namibia. So I am really grateful for the opportunity.”

Kaplan said this after waving farewell to the South African Rugby Union (SARU) president, Oregan Hoskins, on Wednesday, before his departure for Windhoek.