Panels were not named for 2021, due to the stop-start nature of the local season, and there has subsequently been changes following the selection meeting.

Stepping down is Jaco Pretorius (who has decided to hang up his whistle), while Ben Crouse and Stuart Berry will now focus their careers on the duties of Television Match Officials.

Four match officials were promoted from a women’s referees recruitment drive (which was funded by the Department: Sport, Arts and Culture and organised by SA Rugby just before lockdown in March 2020); they are: Akhona Mncolomba, Zoe Naude, Yohane Halgryn and Tshepi Moropa.

SA Rugby Referees Manager Banks Yantolo praised South African match officials for their role locally and on the international stage, as well as his department for the hard work they were doing behind the scenes to ensure referees perform to international standards.

“We consistently deliver some of the best match officials in the world, but there is also a steady stream of young men and women match officials who are identified and developed with the future in mind,” said Yantolo.

“Our three-year plan implemented in 2019 has run its course; we had a very good and productive session where the state of SA match officials was discussed, and we are very excited about 2022.

“Our structures have always given us a tremendous sense of pride and achievement and it continues to do so, with our men and women referees featuring prominently on the international stage, while a lot of younger referees identified a couple of years ago, are now coming of age.”

Yantolo paid tribute to Berry, who was recently appointed as TMO by World Rugby in the Autumn International Series.

“Stuart has had a long career on various SA Rugby, SANZAAR and World Rugby panels as a referee, has been to a Rugby World Cup as an Assistant Referee (2015), and has been a key match official in the PRO14 and Vodacom URC,” he said.

“We would like to thank him for his contribution with the whistle and on the flag for many years and we are excited to see how he will continue to grow in his new role, where he has already made his mark on the global stage.”

SA Rugby Match Official Panels for 2022 (in alphabetical order):

National Panel: Christopher Allison, Aimee Barrett-Theron, Johre Botha, Griffin Colby, Morne Ferreira, Stephan Geldenhuys, AJ Jacobs, Cwengile Jadezweni, Jaco Kotze, Mpho Matsaung, Pumzile Mbewu, Ruhan Meiring, Paul Mente, Vusi Msibi, Sean Muller, Bulelani Naka, Dylen November, Jaco Peyper, Rasta Rasivhenge, Archie Sehlako, Divan Uys, Marius van der Westhuizen.

Women’s Panel: Angelic Bezuidenhout, Cameron Dyers, Yohane Halgryn, Maria Mabote, Siyanda Pikoli, Akhona Mncolomba, Ashleigh Murray-Pretorius, Tshepi Moropa, Zoe Naude, Bulela Qwane, Giana Viljoen.

Sevens Squad: Morne Ferreira, AJ Jacobs, Ashleigh Murray-Pretorius.

TMO Panel: Stuart Berry, Ben Crouse, Christie du Preez, Quinton Immelman, Marius Jonker, Egon Seconds.