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Jackson to make his Super Rugby refereeing debut

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James Mortimer     26 May 2011     Getty Images

Jackson will oversee the Hurricanes and Force, a progression after acting as an assistant referee for 13 of the 14 rounds of action so far.

It all began while playing at Saracens and Jackson confirmed his entry into refereeing by joining the Hertfordshire Referees' Society, north of London.

Lyndon Bray, at the time in charge of New Zealand’s officials but now SANZAR’s referee boss, worked with Jackson to prepare him for what would be a rapid rise, putting him to work in the Heartland Championship last season.

Bray said Jackson was a natural with the whistle.

"Glen's progress has been nothing short of spectacular. As a former player, he has a great 'feel' for the game and has taken to refereeing with relative ease,” he said.

"His elevation is crucial to SANZAR's future objectives as we continue to develop our talent and create new opportunities for referees to flourish. Myself and the selectors have been keeping a close watch on Glen's progress and we are confident he will do well on Friday.”

This comes just two years after Jackson hung up his boots.

Jackson, who made his Super Rugby playing debut in the 1999 Super 12, played 60 games for the Chiefs and scored 474 points, playing his last match for the franchise in their semi-final loss to the Brumbies in 2004.

That same year he was part of the Steamers team that won the Ranfurly Shield, and the New Zealand Maori side that won the Churchill Cup.

Some say Jackson was unlucky to be within a playmaking generation that included All Blacks Andrew Mehrtons and Carlos Spencer, but there no doubting his talent as he headed to Saracens.

Over a distinguished six-year career with the Aviva Premiership club, Jackson twice was the leading point’s scorer for the English season, named as a PRA and Saracens’ Player of the Year, and went on to rack up over 1,500 points with the club.

Indeed Jackson was pivotal in Saracens progress towards legitimate powerhouse, with the St Albans based side in their second consecutive Premiership decider this season.

At times coined Saracens “unsung Maori general”, Jackson did not live in the shadow of anyone at the club, with Derick Hougaard and Alex Goode never consistently challenging. While young Owen Farrell – despite famous Dad Andy – has still to cement himself as the team’s new playmaker.

Jackson, who cites the 2015 Rugby World Cup as his ultimate refereeing goal, said that in many respects the challenges of looking after the game was beyond that of playing.

"In many ways it is a thankless job,” he said.

“If you get it right, nobody notices because it's just a part of your job, but get it wrong and you become a villain. Players can make a mistake and people are quiet about it and then if they do something brilliant, they are applauded. If a referee makes a mistake he is no good and no number of fantastic calls can make up for it. You have to develop a thick skin.

"Players get down time during a match but the referee has to stay mentally strong for 80 minutes".