Jackson on course for referee summit
July 18, 2012
Former Saracens fly-half Glen Jackson is on course to grace the international stage as a referee having failed to earn Test honours as a player © PA Photos
Former Saracens fly-half Glen Jackson looks set to grace the biggest stage as a referee having missed out on the honour as a player.
Jackson only retired from the game following Sarries' defeat to Leicester in the Premiership finale two years ago but has since been fast-tracked through the refereeing ranks.
A former Premiership Player of the Year, Jackson completed his RFU exams during his stint with Saracens having started refereeing age-grade rugby while playing for Super Rugby side the Chiefs in his native New Zealand. After calling time on his playing career he returned south where he has graduated from provincial games to Super Rugby and the international stage.
The 37-year-old took charge of the Fiji-Tonga clash in the build-up to last year's Rugby World Cup and also acted as the Television Match Official for the Tri-Nations clash between New Zealand and Australia. Most recently was the man in the middle for four games at the IRB Junior World Championship and will feature as an assistant for two games in this year's Rugby Championship.
Jackson has impressed the IRB Match Official Selection Committee with Paddy O'Brien, the HSBC Sevens World Series referee manager, insisting it is only a matter of time before he is handed a Tier 1 Test match. "We've been really impressed by Glen," O'Brien told IRB.com. "If you look at the aspects of refereeing, you look at the fitness side of it, the technical side, the tactical side, the management side and Glen has got them all.
"He has now got to learn the art of refereeing and he's doing that very quickly. He is a third year referee and most third year referees are refereeing children and Under 18s back in their country.
"Glen is probably the most exciting prospect that has come through IRB refereeing for four or five years, along with John Lacey, an ex-player from Munster, Alain Rolland who we've already seen in a Rugby World Cup Final, ex player for Ireland, played scrum-half. He will be, mark my words, an international referee, it's just a matter of time, he really excites me."
Jackson has his eyes on the 2015 Rugby World Cup and hopes other players follow his lead. "I love the game," he said. "It is a great fraternity to be part of, refereeing people are people who just love rugby. Players are the same and I wouldn't even say at the end of their career, I think probably if I had a chance to go and do it earlier I would have. The more players that can become referees is only good for the game.
"It is a magic place to watch the game of footy, you are part of a big game that everyone loves and at the end of the day referees make games and we need referees. I think especially for ex-players that have finished or something has happened to them that they can't play anymore it is a good way to keep in touch with people who make the game."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The Scotland coach enters his first Six Nations with at least one familiar face to look to for inspiration - Joe Schmidt. He chats to Tom Hamilton
Italy coach Jacques Brunel spoke to ESPN ahead of his final season as Italy coach and tells of his desire to experiment and evolve
"There's no bull with me, I just tell it straight." Tom Hamilton talks to Warren Gatland in an exclusive interview
With the retirement of Adam Jones, Welsh rugby says goodbye to a great player and one of its biggest personalities too, writes Tom Hamilton