South African referee Jaco van Heerden has retired from the game to pursue a career as an advocate, SA Rugby has confirmed.
Still just 34-years-old, Van Heerden began refereeing South African first class matches in 2013 before making his Super Rugby debut in a match between the Bulls and Sharks in Pretoria in 2015.
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According to a press release on Friday, Van Heerden has opted to bow out of the game as he focuses on his law career.
Banks Yantolo, SA Rugby's Referee Manager, thanked Van Heerden for his service to the game.
"Jaco has always been a true professional and he was an asset to South African refereeing," said Yantolo.
"Unfortunately the demands of his legal career meant he could no longer commit the time required to perform as an elite referee. We wish him well for his future as an advocate."
Van Heerden refereed in three Tests, 20 Super Rugby and 34 Currie Cup matches, which included the 2017 First Division final and the Premier Division semi-finals in 2014 and 2015.