Club rugby action returned to the fields of Cape Town on Wednesday, with SK Walmers hosting Brackenfell at the Green Point Track.
After a week of inactivity because of referees taking a stance against abuse from fans and players alike, they met with the Western Province Rugby Union on Tuesday night and reached an agreement that games will resume immediately.
With the union having given their support to referees, the onus now falls on fans to get in on the act and not to “blow” the newfound peace.
As fans we do get carried away at times, especially when things aren’t going the way of the teams we support.
And yes, referees do make mistakes and sometimes they are costly.
But remember, these guys are fans of the game too.
As Ben Theron, member of the Western Province Referee’s Society, likes to say: “Real lovers of any sport are the match officials”.
While the men in the middle get reimbursed for their expenses, they are not professional referees and do this for the love of the game.
With 147 referees in the Mother City at the moment, there is a real shortage in match officials.
For example there are 134 games this weekend, meaning there will in all likelihood be some of these refs that will officiate more than one game - assuming that not all of them are available for duty.
And like any other “team”, the only way to improve it is for healthy in-house competition.
So if you feel that the officials at club level just aren’t up to scratch, why not take up the whistle yourself?
To do so, you’ll need a “renostervel”, according to Theron. By that he means you have to grow a thick skin.
What abuse often does is make the official doubt himself and without the reward of a lekker pay pakkie after the match, it’s clear to see that this sort of thing can leave you feeling empty after a match, especially if you did so at the expense of time with your loved ones.
If it turns out that you are good at blowing the whistle, there is a chance that you might turn pro.
Currently, Cape Town has an incredible six Test-match level refs, Marius van der Westhuizen, Rasta Rashivenge, Egon Seconds, Cwengile Jadezweni and Amee Barrett-Theron.
Anyway, to this weekend’s action.
There are only two matches left to play in Super League A round-robin action, with UWC hosting SK Walmers and Durbell hosting Maties.
With the top six already vas, Maties will look to end the season unbeaten and overtake UCT in the final match.