The number of Taranaki referees in the New Zealand high performance squad has doubled after Paul Williams' appointment.
Williams joins top-ranked fellow Taranaki whistleblower Richard Kelly in the 15-man squad.
"It means he will be doing ITM Cup matches this year, which is a very rapid elevation for Paul but he has shown some great signs already," Taranaki Rugby Football Union referee education officer Matt Peters said.
"It will be a challenge but our job is to support him as best we can so he can be the best he possibly can."
The former Border and Southern halfback grabbed hold of a whistle while still in his playing prime, something that had benefited him, according to Peters. His talent for controlling the game was recognised early and he made his senior debut a year after starting. "When I first saw him you could see the fact that he had just played rugby, so from a tactical point of view he had good tactical knowledge and his mental strength is very good, he shows a lot of resilience," Peters said.
Although there have been a few hiccups along the way, most notably a wrong law ruling in a senior A match between Coastal and Clifton, Peters said the 28-year-old was quick to learn from his mistakes.
"At no stage did we want anyone to make the mistakes he made but if there is a good side, he's learnt a hell of a lot from it and is better from the experience.
"What I really liked is what he did after those mistakes, he did whatever reparation he could."
- Taranaki Daily News
Is Ma'a Nonu returning to the Hurricanes ...Related story: Ma'a Nonu's return to Hurricanes confirmed
Get Taranaki's frequent news and sport updates