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Henning succeeds Garner at the URC after 'a very thorough process'

By Kim Ekin
(Photo by Michael Bradley/Getty Images)

Ex-Test level referee Tappe Henning has been appointed head of match officials for the United Rugby Championship, filling the URC vacancy created by the departure last summer of Greg Garner who had been elite referee manager for the tournament since 2017. 

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The 60-year-old Henning’s most recent role was with Scottish Rugby as their union’s referee commissioner having previously held a similar position at SA Rugby prior to 2013. His appointment follows criticism in recent months from some team coaches that the URC season started without someone in situ to succeed Garner.  

Henning was in charge of 14 Test matches and was named on the match officials panel for the 1999 World Cup. At the age of 34, he had become the youngest referee of a Currie Cup final in 1995 and he went on to whistle the 1997 Super Rugby final between the Blues and the Brumbies.

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Henning said: “I am extremely excited about the cross-hemisphere competition of the URC and the goal of bringing together north and south to create a collaborative approach which will encourage positive play.

“With so many different styles of play in the URC, it will require a big effort from myself, our match officials, the clubs and their coaches to mutually agree on our core principles so everyone knows what to expect. With a partnership based on mutual respect towards the different rugby cultures and playing styles – coaches and match officials can work towards a product that will be unique to the rugby world.”

Tournament director David Jordan added: “After a very thorough process we very pleased to have appointed Tappe Henning as our head of match officials. Tappe’s CV provides him with a balance of experience that is very unique and well catered to the United Rugby Championship, given that he has refereed at the highest levels in South Africa and in Super Rugby and due to his eight years with Scottish Rugby, he has full knowledge of our landscape in the north and how our match official process functions.

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“This is a very challenging role and we know Tappe is very eager to build upon the foundations laid in place by his predecessors Ed Morrison and, most recently, Greg Garner.”

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