Jonathan Kaplan

About Jonathan Kaplan

Jonathan Kaplan is South Africa's most celebrated and respected rugby referee, breaking and setting various world records. His experience is undisputed having overseen 107 super rugby games (the first and only referee to reach this milestone), 70 test matches ( the man to pass the 50 mark), 161 currie cup games (the first man to pass the 150 mark) and 425 first class games (setting another remarkable world record). To top it off, he has also spent 21 years on South Africa's refereeing panel. Now retired from active refereeing, he is focusing on writing his book, enjoying some horse racing and spending quality time with his dogs. In his spare time, he has agreed to weigh in on referees' performances each week, providing insight into controversial calls and a first-hand understanding of what it's like to make those calls on the day. With credentials like his, we think you should sit up and listen!

Kaplan’s Comments – The weekend of upsets


Another intriguing weekend of rugby with two huge upsets in Super Rugby!

The Lions have been playing the right pattern without the correct application or execution. They initially lost three on the trot and were staring down the barrel of a gun, but their performance on Friday had […]

March 10th, 2015|

Kaplan’s Comments – Consistency and experience


I’m upping my tipping game… ever so slightly

My tipping improved slightly, but it’s still hopeless, so it can only get better. There were numerous questionable refereeing decisions that have enraged the general public. As usual, we will take a look at some of the games and some […]

March 2nd, 2015|

Kaplan’s Comments – Cleaning out defenders past the ball

Hayden_Triggs_Blues_v_Stormers_Super_Rugby_2015My tipping has been pretty ordinary so far this season, with some of my picks ending up on the wrong side of a narrow loss. I got in a lot of rugby in this weekend, but it wasn’t nearly as exciting as my two wins on my […]

February 23rd, 2015|

Kaplan’s Comments – 6 Nations marches on

Scotland v Wales - RBS Six NationsIn contrast to the Super Rugby weekend I felt the 6 Nations matches were well refereed … For the 2nd week running. Lacey is still learning this trade, but I like his manner, and the way he allowed both teams to […]

February 16th, 2015|

Kaplan’s Comments – Away teams rule… almost


Absolutely useless! That’s the state of my tipping for this past weekend in Super rugby… Got the Brumbies right and that’s about it. Anyway there is always this weekend to look forward to… Can’t get worse, can I?

Much of the early season games were tough to work […]

February 16th, 2015|

Q&A with Jonathan Kaplan

5caea7d6d60bc0e07f2f151259cac586Q: Do you feel that referees these days consult the TMO too often for video reviews?

A. Referees are trying to make their decisions right and are making a conscious effort to merge with the demands of the modern game. I would not say there is an over […]

January 20th, 2015|

Kaplan’s Comments – The White Card


Sometimes I have been critical of the way the powers-that-be run the game, but not so for SARU and the Varsity Cup. I am a big fan of innovation, of making the game more exciting for the public, and obviously any attempt to make the game easier […]

December 4th, 2014|

Kaplan’s Comments – Not a happy ending

2014 Castle Lager Outgoing Tour: Wales v South Africa

And so Wales finally managed to beat a team from the south. It was no less than they deserved having made big strides under Warren Gatland despite falling short all the time.

It was not the greatest Test match, and […]

December 2nd, 2014|

Kaplan’s Comments – Azzurri deserve more respect

2014 Castle Lager Outgoing Tour: Italy v South AfricaMost local newspapers and social media felt that the Boks took a step back in their tough win against Italy on Saturday, but that is quite unfair on a spirited Italian side.

Most people said that the Boks underperformed and […]

November 25th, 2014|

Kaplan’s Comments – Ireland are the real deal

Ireland v Australia - International MatchThis weekend’s rugby was notable for the Irish beating the Wallabies by three points in Dublin and in so doing confirming my long-held belief that they are the real deal.

I fancy them to get to the semifinals at least for the […]

November 25th, 2014|

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