New Zealand Rugby’s high performance referees have an even sharper eye on the action this season after Specsavers signed a three-year partnership with New Zealand Rugby (NZR).

Rugby fans will have noticed all referees with duties at New Zealand Investec Super Rugby matches now sport a new Specsavers-branded strip. Also as part of the deal, 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,” says 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.

“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,” says Sorensen.

Brendan Thompson, Specsavers New Zealand retail director, says Specsavers has a long history of sports partnerships and is committed to ensuring the top referees are 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.”

The partnership was launched in late February with a media event at Specsavers Queen Street, resulting in media coverage across several major outlets including TVONE News. Further marketing and PR activity to support the sponsorship will run throughout the season until the final match on the sixth of August.