World Cup - Referee: Jonathan Kaplan

Tue, 06 Sep 16:53:00 2011

We look at the career of World Cup referee Jonathan Kaplan.

jonathan kaplan - 0

As far as refereeing goes, veteran South African Jonathan Kaplan holds just about every record in the book.

The 44-year-old is the most experienced Test referee of all time after blowing the whistle in 63 international matches and was the first man in the history of the game to break the half-century mark.

Kaplan, who hails from east coast city of Durban, started his international career in 1996 when he took charge of Zimbabwe versus Namibia in Harare and 2011 marks his fourth Rugby World Cup.

So at the age of 17, He began refereeing at schoolboy level at the age of 17 in Johannesburg whilst attending the St. David Linksfield High School.

Kaplan, who studied economics and psychology at university and also has qualifications in marketing management, made his first-class debut as a referee at the age of 26 and has gone on to become arguably the most respected referee the sport has ever seen.

He is closing in on having officiated 400 first-class matches, including more than 130 Currie Cup fixtures and nearly 90 games in Super Rugby.

He has also refereed five Currie Cup finals, three Super Rugby finals, a Rugby World Cup quarter-final in 2003 and a semi-final in 2007, while he also attended the 1999 RWC as a touch judge.

It is perhaps no surprise that such an extensive career has not been without its controversial incidents.

Kaplan was handed the honour of being the first referee to take charge in the expanded Six Nations tournament in 2000, but it was in the 2009 edition of the competition that he came in for criticism from England after a defeat against Wales in Cardiff.

In the 2011 Six Nations, Kaplan was at the centre of the Mike Phillips try controversy that enabled Wales to topple Ireland. Phillips scored after Matthew Rees had taken a quick lineout with a different ball, and Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll labelled the decision to award the try as “unforgivable”.

However, possibly his most memorable moment came in New Zealand, when Australia skipper John Eales kicked a last-minute penalty in Wellington to seal a famous 24-23 Bledisloe Cup win.

Kaplan had bottles thrown at him by disgruntled New Zealand fans, but his resilience has seen him outlast most critics, although a road accident in July almost ended his RWC dream. Riding his scooter in Cape Town, he crashed into an open taxi door and subsequently needed 30 stitches.

Kaplan was rested for a few warm-up matches prior to the RWC, but he will take charge of the Tonga-Canada, England-Georgia, Canada-Japan and Ireland-Italy fixtures in New Zealand.


Not already a Yahoo! user ? to get a free Yahoo! Account