World famous South African and IRB (International Rugby Board) referee Jonathan Kaplan will arrive in the island later this month to conduct a referee educator workshop in Kandy and Colombo. However, the timing of Kaplan’s arrival has raised a doubt amongst the rugby fraternity as to whether he is coming to officiate at the Bradby Shield first leg encounter, a move which could essentially deprive a local referee of the opportunity.
A leading referee speaking to the ‘Daily Mirror’ said that there is no doubt that Kaplan is one of the best. Concerns such as our pattern of game and this being an inter-school match must be taken note of. “If the purpose of Kaplan’s visit is to educate referees, he should have been brought earlier in the season. Now the school season is almost over and the club season will kick off only in November this year. We are not happy with the manner in which this matter has been handled,” said the referee.
According to reliable sources Kaplan’s Sri Lanka visit is being negotiated by two old Royalists, one at the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) and the other a committee member of the Sri Lanka s Society of Rugby Football Referees.
Moves of this nature would stifle the opportunities for up and coming local referees. Some of the referees who have done a good job with the whistle this season include Dinka Peiris, Dimithri Gunasekera, Nizam Jamaldeen, Charith Kodagoda and ever reliable Dilroy Fernando. Fernando, who has already indicated that he will officiate his last match, is likely to get the second leg of the Bradby Shield encounter in Colombo on 15 June.
Trinity will lock horns in the 69th Bradby Shield encounter on June 1 at the Pallekele Rugby Stadium which will be also a tournament game in the ongoing Singer League Under 20 tournament.
Kaplan is set to retire from professional refereeing after 21 years at the end of the 2013 South African season. Kaplan who holds a record of 68 Test matches and 99 Super Rugby matches, has officiated in Four Rugby World Cup Tournaments.