19 Jun 2012
There are eight referees from around the world in Cape Town for the Junior World Rugby Championship, chosen men. If history is anything to go by they are referees like to climb the international ladder. One of them is Francisco Pastrana, a referee on the threshold of a Super Rugby appointment as a referee. .
Pastrana was born in Buenos Aires - on 13 September 1979 - and lives in Buenos Aires, married to Maïté. He played flyhalf for the famous Hindu Club in Buenos Aires till injuries took their till and he was forced to stop playing.
In 2004 Pastrana started refereeing and now he is a full-time, professional rugby referee, roaming the world with a whistle in his bag.
He has been a match official in Europe, Australasia, Africa, Asia and South America - an intercontinental experience. This is in fact the third Junior World Championship that he has officiated out. He started at the Junior World Trophy in Kenya in 2009 and then the Junior World Championship in Argentina in 2010, then in Italy in 2011 and now in South Africa. This is not his first South African experience as last season he was a referee in the Vodacom Cup when the team from Argentina, the Pampas, took part for the first time.
He has also refereed in Australia and New Zealand as part of his gathering experience - an assistant in Super Rugby and a referee in club rugby.
He has refereed World Cup qualifiers - Uruguay vs Kazakhstan and Uruguay vs the USA. Apart from being the assistant referee when South Africa played Scotland at Murrayfield, he has refereed Portugal vs Canada.
Pastrana has also refereed on the IRB's Sevens circuit for three years and that, too, is an intercontinental experience.
At the end of all that he lists his highlights as a referee - the Hong Kong Sevens and the Junior World Championship.
Of course, he had help along the way - "My wife and family and former referees Pablo Deluca, Osvaldo Ciarrocchi, Carlos Molinari." And he has role models - Riquelme, a soccer player with Boca Juniors, and the tennis player Rafael Nadal.
Clearly he is successful at refereeing and clealry he enjoys it - "I am still playing the game."