Five South African referees have been named on World Rugby's match officials panel for the Olympic Games in Rio.
Craig Joubert, Rasta Rasivhenge, Marius van der Westhuizen and Ben Crouse are part of an elite 12-member panel for the men's tournament to be played from 9-11 August. Rasivhenge will double up his duties, having also been named on the panel for the women's competition.
Meanwhile Aimee Barrett, who played for the Springbok Women's and Bok Women’s Sevens teams between 2008 and 2010, has been included alongside Rasivhenge on the match officials panel for the women's event.
Joubert said he was thankful for the warm welcome by his colleagues following the news of his return to sevens rugby refereeing.
'The environment remains as close-knit as I remember, and the welcome from the sevens family has been exceptionally warm. I’m thrilled to be selected in this group of officials as we build towards the Olympic Games in Rio.'
Rasivhenge commented that his selection for both panels was a dream come true: 'It’s a life-changing opportunity and an experience that will start a new era in my refereeing career.'
Men’s match officials panel – Mike Adamson (Scotland), Federico Anselmi (Argentina), Nick Briant (New Zealand), Ben Crouse (South Africa), Craig Joubert (South Africa), Richard Kelly (New Zealand), Anthony Moyes (Australia), Matt O’Brien (Australia), Taku Otsuki (Japan), Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa), Alexandre Ruiz (France), Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa).
Women’s match officials panel – Aimee Barrett (South Africa), Jess Beard (New Zealand), Beatrice Benvenutti (Italy), James Bolabiu (Fiji), Sara Cox (England), Sakurako Kawasaki (Japan), Rose La Breche (Canada), Gabriel Lee (Hong Kong), Alhambra Nievas (Spain), Amy Perrett (Australia), Alex Pratt (Scotland), Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa).
Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images