IMO the SAffers have the best referees in the world and Craig Joubert is the no.1 ref in our sport, even though he's not that high on the SA merit order. A year or two ago I read something written by a SAffer fan deploring the fact that the RSA had the best refs but because of the neutrality convention in the Super14 and 3N plus other tests, SAffer teams never got the benefit of them. At first I thought it was typical laager thinking but since then I have come to the same opinion. I think that the SANZAR folks were of the same mind when they changed the neutrality rule in the Super 14. I forget what noises they made at the time but "we want our best referees to officiate in more Super14 games" was probabaly the catalyst for change. With referees such as Kaplan, Jonker and Joubert, plus up and comer Stu Berry, the SAffers are well served and teams from other countries benefit from them. Berry has been of high class in the Currie Cup and 7s matches and is a future big test match referee if I am any judge. Peyper has promise too. It may be noted that I didn't include Mark Lawrence. I think his standards have dropped and I'm not just referring to his performance in the Sydney Bledisloe this year in making that remark. I thought he was very good 3 years ago and remember being surprised that he didn't get a RWC appointment; but he has lost form since. He could get it back though and I hope he does. As for Oz: I can't recall too many promising fellows though sometimes it is the Steady Eddie that ends up being an elite ref. Dickenson, warts and all, is still our best. He has done well to come back after being wrongly castigated by O'Brien subsequent to the Kiwis squealing after their Italian Job. "Aussie Steve" Walsh still talks too much and is stuck with "Hoiles syndrome" - the compulsion to listen too much to clever captains and to answer them in detail. You'd think the Europeans would come up with better refs than they have: there are so many of them. Wayne Barnes is overtaking Rolland IMO but needs to get the gravitas of the older guy. Irishman Clancy looks promising. The French refs are poor as a group. I agree with T78 that Jerome Garces, someone he reminded me of after I commended Romaine Poite, is the best French referee. On Poite: I'd love to see him referee the Brumbies and Hoiles approach him. His understanding of spoken English is rudimentary and he would be saying: "Dont talk" all day. It's his standard line when speaking to Brit players and the way the skippers approach him is humorous. They know that they can only use a few simple words and they cringe over to him wondering what the right ones are. Who else? The Kiwis used to have the best referees but a lot have dropped out. Bryce Lawrence is their top rated ref but he is full of complexities and has made some major blunders that deserved official censure. Unlike Dickinson, he never got any that I can recall. Keith Brown is an up and comer though I'd never invite him to a party. The cheerful Pollock is quite good but not stellar. A fellow I like is Munro, but although he's refereed a few minor test matches he's a bit old at nearly 42 to be a force in world refereeing. All the referees I have mentioned as good have made mistakes and there is no need to go there unless you really want to.