29 Jun 2012
Young (not yet 30) Vlad Iordachescu has been appointed to referee the final of the Junior World Rugby Trophy in Salt Lake City, Utah.
It's a big match - USA vs Japan. The winner wins the elegant trophy and also is promoted to take Italy's place in the IRB Junior World Rugby Championship in France next year. It's a big occasion for the man from Bucharest.
Not that it is outside of his experience. He played rugby but gave up in 2003 after his Under-19 year. By then he had already started refereeing, "because it was the only way to stay involved in the game, for I was just an average player, and I love rugby". He gradually climbed the refereeing ladder, was an assistant referee in the Nations Cup for three years and refereed Europe's Under-18 championship. In 2009 he refereed his first Test match - Ukraine vs Czech Republic in Division 1B of the European Nations Cup. In March this year he refereed two more Tests - Russia vs Ukraine in Division 1A and Germany vs Moldavia in Division 1B.
Last year he attended a course in Stellenbosch for elite referees of great promise. He describes it as "an amazing experience".
There has been help along the way, most notably from Emil Pirtoc, the Romanian refereeing manager, and the Romanian Rugby Union. And he has role models - Alain Roland of Ireland and Craig Joubert of South Africa. "I had the honour to meet them"
This year, too, at the age of 28, he has been one of the five referees appointed by the IRB to referee at the Junior World Rugby Trophy. (The other referees are James Bolabiu of Fiji, Shuhei Kubo of Japan, Aruna Ranaweera of the USA and Mauro Rivera of Argentina.) Clearly is going up the world's refereeing ladder.
Looking to the JWRT experience and the final, Vlad said: "The trip has been an unforgettable experience, three weeks of high-level rugby, crowned with the Grand Final that will take place on Saturday."
What he likes about refereeing: "I like everything: making a call in a split second, managing things but specially I like to avoid the whistle, to disappear in the game."
Vlad Calin Iordachescu was born in Bucharest on 9 September, 1984. He is a sales representative for a pharmaceutical company.