Rugby: Japan looks to foreign referees to raise its officiating level

TOKYO, Feb 11 (Kyodo) - Just as star players from overseas have improved the quality of Japanese domestic rugby, Japan's League One is hoping to do the same with its refereeing standards by importing top officials from other countries.

Australian Nic Berry, a referee at the 2019 World Cup in Japan, demonstrated the kind of unerring judgment and smooth officiating Japan longs for from its native officials in the Jan. 22 League One game between Brave Lupus Tokyo and Toyota Verblitz.

While the large influx of high-profile players from overseas has resulted in a better game and an increase in the number of Japanese players on professional contracts, only three of the league's 17 Japanese referees are hired full-time. ...continue reading