His younger brother is getting married this weekend but Boris Jurlina won't be there to see it.

It's not as if there's any bad blood between the two, it's just that Boris was caught between a rock and a hard place, having been called up earlier in the year to take part in an elite camp for upcoming referees in Wellington.

The former Kaitaia College student will join seven of his counterparts from across the country, all having been earmarked as holding the potential to take their refereeing further, at the first of three camps being run through the NZRU's Wider Training Squad this year. At the WTS camps, taking place over two weekends and one full week, the group of eight referees will be placed in a high-performance environment with top players and referee administrators from the New Zealand rugby framework.

Jurlina said he was looking forward to the opportunities being presented through the selection. Although he wasn't getting too far ahead of himself, the 30-year-old admitted he hadn't taken note of the ages of those currently reffing at the top level, generally around the 35- to 40-year-old mark. He noted fitness was an integral part of the job as far as officials were concerned but considering he was hitting 18 in yo-yo tests, had little to worry about in regards to that aspect of the game.


There were no illusions being held about the challenges of making it to the very top. Reffing, even at the most grassroots level imaginable [i.e. local] was never the easiest job in the world, but the degree of difficulty increased exponentially thanks to an ever changing rulebook and varying views on of how the game should flow at provincial, national and international levels. Asked about top referees he admired, Jurlina cited the likes of Ben O'Keefe, Craig Joubert and the ever popular Irish Kiwi, Paddy O'Brien.

The former Kaitaia College student, who currently works as an aluminium fabricator in Whangarei, also wanted to thank his employers, who fully supported his ambitions and the often frequent need to travel to referee at games out of town.

Northland Referees Association spokesman Kyal Collins described the local ref's selection into the WTS as a "massive opportunity" and one which would certainly see Jurlina advance through the ranks. The next levels from where Jurlina was currently officiating at, Collins noted, were Heartland rugby then ITM Cup, Super Rugby and then the international test arenas respectively.

Justifiably proud of Boris Jnr's selection were mum and dad, Jean and Boris Snr who live at Lake Ohia. Jean noted her son's selection was absolutely deserved, "considering all the years he has put into refereeing including the number of years travelling to Whangarei [and quite often further afield] and back every weekend" to referee.

"The only drawback with this selection is that the first weekend camp in Wellington he has to attend is on March 14th, the day his brother is getting married!" Jean said, adding, "No prizes guessing what Boris will be doing!"

Boris admitted missing his own brother's wedding was as disappointing for him as much as it was for all the families involved. However he said Chris as groom completely understood the dilemma, fully aware how much effort his big brother had put into lifting his game.