Fijian Ref to officiate Currie Cup

Fiji’s top rugby referee James Bolabiu will head for South Africa to officiate in the Currie Cup competition after taking part in last week’s TriNations and Bledisloe Cup clash.

Bolabiu will spend two months in South Africa after returning home from New Zealand on the weekend.

The Kadavu native returned home on Sunday and said the Tri-Nations experience had lifted his game after learning from some of the best in the world.

“I can feel that I’m a better match official then when I left,” the 25-year-old said.

“It was such a great experience … I was able to learn so many things,” Bolabiu told the Fiji Times.

“It was a different ball game all together.

“To officiate at that level was a different story.

“I’m really happy with my form and I think I performed to what the IRB expected of me.

“I was able to mingle with top referees in the world, especially Mark Lawrence and Craig Joubert (South African referees). I learnt a lot from them.”

He said officiating at a big match was altogether different from local derbies.

“I was a bit nervous at first, especially coming into the changing room and seeing these star players. The crowd was so vocal during the national anthems and after kick-off but I was able to do my normal thing.”

Bolabiu became the first Fijian to officiate in the IRB World Sevens Series last year, before getting the call to referee at the Junior World Championships in Wales last June.

He officiated during the Pacific Nations Cup, where he controlled the match between Australia A and the New Zealand Maori.

On his call to officiate in South Africa, he said, “I had a meeting with Paddy O’Brien in New Zealand and I have been appointed to officiate at the Currie Cup.

“I will be leaving for South Africa next week.

“It’s a good opportunity to officiate at a different level and I think the IRB is trying to keep me exposed to a high level of competition.

“I think the IRB is happy with my performance, which is why I’m getting these appointments.

“I’ve been given this opportunity to go to South Africa which indicates that I’m performing to what they expect of me.”

Fiji Rugby Referees Association president Nacanieli Naceba welcomed the news, saying Bolabiu had not only set the platform for himself but for the association as well. “Considering his age, he has achieved a lot already.

“We have had high hopes for him ever since he started and he has done just that he deserves it because he has worked hard for it,” Naceba said.

“His continued progress to the top has opened up opportunities for the association.

“Because of his success, the IRB Referees Association has taken more interest in us and we are enjoying more IRB certified referees and coaching clinics … things that we found hard to come by in the past.”

Bolabiu called on local referees to follow in his footsteps.

“I think I’ve motivated a lot of young people to take up refereeing. But nothing comes easy and they will need to work hard.

“I always tell them that not everyone will wear the white jumper. Once they are given the opportunity to officiate at a higher level, they must do their best.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.