IT’S going to be a hectic, emotional roller-coaster weekend for internationally-renowned rugby referee Craig Joubert. First up, the Maritzburg College Old Boy is guest speaker at the Friday evening St Charles College Old Boys’ Dinner – a polished, entertaining address is certain from this accomplished man – before his final appearance as a rugby ref on Graeme Gilfillan Field 3pm Saturday – the landmark 200th Hilton College/Michaelhouse first XV match in the 115-year term of this remarkable rugby rivalry – and a match that has a special, personal meaning to Craig… More about that later… Before this widely respected, popular son of the KZN capital enjoys welcome down time with mates in the incomparable KZN midlands.
Featured image… “NO, NOT THIS TIME RICHIE…”
KZN10.com asked Craig to tell us more.
“Thanks Jono, it’s great to make my debut on KZN10.com!
“A couple of thoughts… I started refereeing in Maritzburg because I loved the game; schoolboy rugby was a massive part of my early rugby-and-refereeing life – and throughout my career.
“I have always tried to continue to referee schoolboy rugby whenever my schedule has allowed. The Hilton vs Michaelhouse game is a very special schoolboy rivalry and early in my career both schools were generous in welcoming me, as a schoolboy myself, in refereeing the 2nd XV fixture on this day.
“Unbeknown to me at the time, it would also be the last time I would see my late dad (Des) referee, as he did the 1st XV game before falling ill soon afterwards.
“As I now stand in the twilight of my refereeing career and look forward to an exciting future with World Rugby – coaching and mentoring the Sevens World Series referees through to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games – I am thrilled that my schedule has allowed me to referee this fixture as the final game of my career (and with thanks to the Midlands Referees’ Society, with whom I have always maintained my membership, for the appointment).
“I love what a great rivalry these 2 schools have – and the privilege to have been involved in a few of these contests over the years. It seems right that I run out on the same field – and to referee the same game – as my final act as a referee, as what my dad did so many years ago.
“I can’t wait.”
… Wow … Craig, I’m a bit of an emotional bunny… shed a tear at the mere hint of a hospital pass… but the way you expressed this closing chapter of your on-field action… I had to reach for the KZN10.com tissue box.
Enjoy every moment.