Up-and-coming South African referees Rasta Rasivhenge and Marius van der Westhuizen will feature prominently in the forthcoming HSBC Sevens World Series, the IRB has announced.
Rasivhenge and New Zealand's James McPhail will officiate in all ten tournaments of the Series, which kicks off on Australia's Gold Coast on October 13-14 and adds a new venue in La Plata, Argentina. Van der Westhuizen makes his debut on the circuit and will appear at six tournaments.
In total, 15 national unions are represented among the panel of referees but only two - South Africa and Australia - have more than one representative.
"This is an exciting time for those referees selected for the Series," said John Jeffrey, chairman of the IRB Referee Selection Committee. "Rugby Sevens is experiencing unprecedented growth as we prepare for its inclusion in the Olympic Games 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. With that comes plenty of opportunities for players, coaches and, of course, match officials to perform at a high level."
Rasivhenge is a seasoned campaigner at this level, while Van der Westhuizen has an opportunity to make his mark.
"We're very proud of the two referees on the IRB circuit," said Andre Watson, GM: Referees of the South African Rugby Union (SARU). "Rasta was on the Sevens circuit last season and refereed the Cup final at Hong Kong. He has made a great impression already and is very popular with the players and coaches, due to his great rapport with players.
"Marius is new on the IRB circuit but we are confident that he will do well as he is a special talent. He took part in the recent Students' World Cup in France. We believe they both have the attributes that a top Sevens referee requires and would like to see them progress to the 2016 Olympics.
"Both are well versed in Sevens as well as being in the top group of referees in the 15-a-side code in South Africa."
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