New Zealand Rugby’s high performance referees will have an even sharper eye on the action, thanks to a new partnership with Specsavers.
The optometry brand has signed a three-year partnership with New Zealand Rugby (NZR) that sees Specsavers getting behind New Zealand’s Investec Super Rugby referees. The new deal was celebrated at a launch event with professional referees Nick Briant, Mike Fraser and Brendon Pickerill at Specsavers Queen Street store in central Auckland today.
All referees with duties at New Zealand Super Rugby matches will don a new strip, and all NZR high performance referees will have regular comprehensive eye examinations at Specsavers as part of their pre-season preparation.
“It’s a great match for referees,” said Neil Sorensen, NZR’s General Manager Rugby.
“At the pace and energy that today’s modern professional rugby is played, referees have to be able to keep up, and they need to be in tip-top condition. That includes having perfect eyesight to make all the tough calls they have to make throughout each game.
“Our referees know that to be selected, they need to be performing well, be in great physical shape, and have the mental strength to thrive in a highly visible job where all eyes can be on you, and not just the players.
“We know referees get a lot of stick for the things they see – or don’t see – on the field. This partnership sends a good message to everyone, not just referees, that getting your eyes checked is important. That’s why we have ensured our referees have had their Specsavers vision warrant of fitness from professional optometrists,” said Sorensen.
All New Zealand professional referees will be examined before their first match of the season and then annually. Briant, Fraser and Pickerill received their comprehensive eye examinations at today’s launch. The eye examinations not only test for vision, but with tools like digital retinal photography, the optometrists are able to examine overall eye health and screen for conditions like glaucoma and macular degeneration.
The referees – who run an average seven kilometres in a game, and make hundreds of split-second decisions – also showcased their visual and mental acuity in-store by using the latest Fitlight training technology, a unique wireless reaction training system, which improves reaction times and peripheral vision.
Brendan Thompson, Specsavers New Zealand retail director, said the company had a long history of sports partnerships and was committed to ensuring the top referees were provided the best service and technology.
“They need to keep their eyes on the ball, and we’re proud that we can help them do that.”
Investec Super Rugby kicks off on 26 February with the Blues taking on the Highlanders at Eden Park.
Specsavers recommends every New Zealander gets a comprehensive eye examination every two years from the age of three. AA members, and those under the age of 16 can have their eyes examined at Specsavers for free.