1904: The Pretoria Rugby Referees’ Society was formed as part of the Transvaal Rugby Referees’ Society.
1938: The Northern Transvaal Rugby Referees’ Society was formed with 40 active referees.
1950: The Constitution underwent some changes and was translated into Afrikaans for the first time.
1956: The Constitution changed again, and the executive now consists of a Chairman, Vice-chairman, Secretary, and 3 Additional members.
1958: The Referees had to wear a blue shirt and dark blue shorts from now on while blue Rugby socks were introduced in 1959. The blue shirt of the Referees was replaced by a blue Rugby jersey in 1966.
1967: The Society ended the year with 70 active Referees. Far Northern Transvaal became a Union on their own, with their own Referees. Rustenburg became part of Western Transvaal, Ermelo and Bethal part of Eastern Transvaal.
1972: The referees of the Society wrote examinations on the Laws of Rugby for the first time in the history of the Society.
1977: Subscriptions were introduced for the first time and it was set on R12.00 per year.
1978: The Northern Transvaal Rugby Union made its first travel allowance payment to the Society, the amount was R3000.00. The Constitution was changed so that the Society could administer its own finances.
1982: The honoraria of the secretary and the assistant secretary were R786.00 in total.
1984: The dark blue jersey of the Referee was introduced.
1998: The first full-time official of the Society was appointed and is currently in the employ of the Blue Bulls Union responsible for referee affairs while a games secretary to administer appointments was appointed and paid for by the Society. The name of The Blue Bulls Rugby Referees’ Society.
2004 – 2009: Dr. Oscar Somers was elected and served as Chairman of the Society
2010 – 2011: Gerhard Roodt was elected and served as Chairman of the Society, Vice-chairman, Gerhard van Niekerk.
2013 – 2019: Jan Venter was appointed and served as the Full-Time Referee Manager
2012 – 2017: Gerhard van Niekerk was elected and served as Chairman of the Society, Vice-Chairman Sarel Botha. Gerhard resigned during his tenure and was replaced by Sarel Botha (Vice-Chairman) and acted in the role till the end of 2017
2015 – Current: Bulls Referees receive annual invitations to the Dubai 7s tournaments
2018 – 2019: Sarel Botha was Elected and served as Chairman of the Society, Vice Chairman Colin Little. Sarel resigned as chairman in this term and was replaced by Colin Little
2019 – 2020: Coin Little acted as Chairman for the remainder of the term.
2019: Started Highschools program for scholar referees at multiple local Pretoria high schools.
2020 – Current: Colin Little was elected as Chairman, Dawie Oberholzer elected as Vice Chairman
2020 – Bulls Referees served as assistant referees and technical Staff at the 2020 Varsity Cup and Shield that was played in an exclusive bubble during COVID-19
2021 – Current: Stephan Geldenhuys appointed as Full-Time Referee Manager
2022: Stephan Geldenhuys officiated his 100th Carlton 1st Team Game
ACME sign Blue Bulls partnership to ensure South African referees are “in tune”
Birmingham based ACME Whistles is known across the refereeing world as the whistle of choice for referees in grass roots sport and the elite game. However, as every ACME Whistle is made in the UK, the business distributes its whistles to referees around the world, and some of those countries can be more challenging than others logistically.
With a thriving rugby community in South Africa, referees were frustrated that it wasn’t easy to source an ACME Whistle – and getting one direct from the UK was expensive due to shipping – something that is set to change with a new partnership between ACME and Blue Bulls Rugby Referee Society (BBRRS). Ben McFarlane explains; “We’d tried everything to help South African referees access whistles, however kept on having issues, mainly around logistics and shipping.
“We were then contacted by the team at Blue Bulls to supply a number of whistles for an award ceremony back in December – since which the new partnership was born. “The partnership launched in January will help connect referees and ACME whistles, circumventing the issues we’ve historically experienced.
“One of the top clubs in the country, Blue Bulls will now act as a hub for ACME Whistles where referees can have confidence in not only knowing they are available but can pick them up when they are next at the ground. “Referees are essential for the sport. Without the control and management of a game by the referee there’d be chaos.
“We are therefore on a mission to help every referee wanting the best tools for the job to access them wherever that might be.” If this new model is successful, ACME may engage further club partners in a similar way supporting referees in other areas of South Africa and beyond.
To find out more about ACME Whistles, visit www.acmewhistles.co.uk
Become a Referee
Referee of the Month
Q: What is your Age?
Q: What is your Favourite Food?
A: Seafood and Sushi
Q: Your Favourite country?
A: I’ve always been in awh of Ireland but I have never been
Q: What is your Refereeing History?
A: Invitational Dubai 7’s, Womens 1st division , Varsity Cup 7’s, USSA 7’s, Grant Khomo , Cape Town 7’s
Q: What are your Career Highlights?
A: Dubai 7’s – 2019,
Varsity Cup 7’s – 2019
Womens IPL 1st Division -2019
Cape Town 7’s – Assistant Referee -2019
Grant Khomo – 2022
Q: When did your Refereeing career start?
Q: How long have you been involved in refereeing?
A: 4 years
Q: Why did you choose to become a referee?
A: I always went to my husband’s games when he Reffed. I was keen to learn . Pumas saw that I was keen to learn and kindly obliged me to start reffing. Little did I know what I got myself into.
Q: What quote do you live by?
A: Through Grace and Glory I am where I am today .
Q: What advice can you give for new Referees?
A: It’s not an easy game , people will try to break you down and step on you . Have a thick skin and always think about the enjoyment behind it . Referees become like family , keep them close and they will always be there for you . Keep on learning with each game and each step you take
Q: Something that people don’t know about you?
A: I like to be creative , to paint and colour in.
Q: Number of matches officiated?
A: About 150 games
Q: How was the Grant Khomo experience for you and what did you learn?
A: It was an amazing experience, I’m truly blessed to get the chance to go. We learnt a lot, they taught us when to speak, how to slow the game to breath and to always be infront of the game.
Q: What does refereeing mean for you?
A: It means a lot to me . I want to achieve the goals that I have set for myself .I’ve grown so much as a person since I have started reffing , it has taught me how to deal with certain things in my life and also the interaction with people.
Q: Who is a hero or mentor for you?
A: Aimee Barret-Theron