19 Jul 2016
On Saturday, Ruhan Meiring of Reebok refereed the prestigious last match of the 2016 Craven Week.
The Under-18 Craven Week is an important milestone for young players, part of their rugby development. The same is true for referees who have the opportunity to develop their skills under educated eyes on the five playing days of the week. And it is a good way for them to become known to South Africa´s referees´ bosses. For 26-year-old Meiring it has been a most successful week.
There is no official winner of Craven Week but the two teams chosen for the final match (this year between Western Province and the Golden Lions) on the Saturday are those that the organisers regard as the best teams at the week, and the referee appointed to the match is regarded as the best referee of the week.
There were 10 referees at the week, one of them Test referee Lourens van der Merwe who took the place of Paul Mente who withdrew for work reasons. Meiring was chosen ahead of the other eight referees.
Meiring is part of a refereeing family. His father Gert was a referee and his brother Marnus is a referee and was at the Grant Khomo Week this year.
Ruhan started young - when he was 16 and playing flyhalf for his school´s 1st XV. He joined the Griffons Referees´ Society in 2006, starting young as Jonathan Kaplan, Craig Joubert and other top referees have done. It means that he already has a career behind him.
From school he went to North-West University to study biokinetics and played flyhalf for Pukke Under-19.
So why the refereeing? He says: "For the love of the game. I knew I wasn´t going to play professional rugby and wanted to represent my country on the rugby field. My Dad came to me and asked if I would be interested in becoming a referee. So I then decided to become a referee and try to reach my dream that way.
"I would like to represent my country as a Test referee. I never had the chance to play at Craven Week. Refereeing has given me the opportunity to officiate at the Craven Week - a dream coming true. Officiating the final is huge honour."
His progress has been good - with the Griffons in 2006 and 32007, the Leopards 2009-11 and South Western Districts 2012 to today. He spent a year at the SA Rugby Referees´ Academy, was for three years in the Contenders Squad and this year made it to the National Panel, which means he is one of the best 28 referees in South Africa with just the 10-man Elite Panel above.
For him the highlights in his career have been refereeing the Grant Khomo final match in 2014, his first Under-19 provincial match between South Western Districts and Griquas in 2013, being promoted to the National Panel this year and now the Craven Week.
Of course, people have helped him along the way. In particular he names "Philip du Toit when I was at the Leopards and Eugene Daniels while I was on the Academy Squad.".
Those on earth who are his shining examples are his Dad, Craig Joubert and Jaco Peyper.
Ruhan Meiring was born in Secunda to Gert and Belinda Meiring on 1 August 1989. He attended Hoërskool Bultfontein (Bultfontein is about 100 km north of Bloemfontein) and then North-West University where he graduated BA Hons in Biokinetics. He lives at Reebok on the Garden Route with its beautiful beach. It is near Mossel Bay and he is the sports director at Laerskool Hartenbos. It´s an idyllic world.
Watch him refereeing and you know that he´s got it - calm, accurate, clearly fit and fast with the right sort of rapport with the players.