A team of 25 match officials from 15 Unions, including Ireland’s Joy Neville, has been announced for this coming season’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series as the countdown to the 2020 Olympic Games gathers pace.
Reigning World Rugby Referee of the Year Joy Neville has previously officiated at the Women’s Rugby World Cup final, refereed a senior men’s international game and became the first women to officiate in a European Champions Cup game.
The Limerick woman is the only IRFU representative among the panel of officials and is involved in the World Series for the third successive year.
With all roads leading to Tokyo 2020, 15 Men’s core teams and 11 Women’s core teams will compete for the coveted World Series titles and a place at the Olympic Games, as the series acts as the principle route for qualification. For the match officials, an exciting blend of experience and the best emerging talent, it is also a stepping stone to Olympic selection.
A new-look 13-strong match official panel for the Women’s Series includes five new appointments with Tyler Miller (Rugby Australia), Emily Hsieh (USA), Ashleigh Murray (SARU), former Australia player Madeline Putz (Rugby Australia) and Lauren Jenner (NZR) all selected.
Tevita Rokovereni (FRU) will transition from the Men’s Series panel to join the Women’s Series this season, while experienced campaigners Aimee Barrett-Theron (SARU) and Rebecca Mahoney (NZR) are stepping down to concentrate on 15s officiating after stellar Sevens officiating careers.
Former World Rugby Referee of the Year Alhambra Nievas (FER) and experienced referee Ben Crouse (SARU) have both announced their retirements respectively from match officiating. The selected Men’s Series panel includes nine match officials who recently participated in the record-breaking Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco.
World Rugby Match Officials Selection Committee Chairman Anthony Buchanan said: “The Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco demonstrated a high standard of officiating and the bar has been set high as we prepare for a new series season and look ahead to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
“With clear and consistent decision-making the continued priority, the selection committee is delighted with the quality of match officials available for selection for both the Men’s and Women’s Series panel and are also excited about the huge potential shown by the five new referees who have been appointed to the Women’s Series panel.
“We would also like to acknowledge the enormous contribution that Ben Crouse, Alhambra Nievas, Aimee Barrett-Theron, Rebecca Mahoney have made to the global advancement of Sevens officiating – they are superb ambassadors – and wish them all the very best as they begin exciting new chapters in their careers.”
This season, the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series increases to six rounds with USA Rugby hosting the new opening round in Glendale, Colorado, on October 20-21. The Men’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series will again be contested across 10 rounds with the series opener set for Dubai on November 30-December 1.
HSBC WORLD RUGBY WOMEN’S SEVENS SERIES PANEL –
Joy Neville (IRFU)
Sara Cox (RFU)
Hollie Davidson (SRU)
Tevita Rokoverneni (FRU)
Sakurako Kawasaki (JRFU)
Tyler Miller (Rugby Australia)
Emily Hsieh (USA)
Bea Benvenuti (FIR)
Madeline Putz (Rugby Australia)
Ashleigh Murray (SARU)
Lauren Jenner (NZR)
Amy Perrett (Rugby Australia)
Adam Jones (WRU)
HSBC WORLD RUGBY WOMEN’S SEVENS SERIES SCHEDULE:
Colorado, USA, October 20-21, 2018
Dubai, UAE, November 29-30, 2018 **
Sydney, Australia, February 1-3, 2019 **
Kitakyushu, Japan, April 20-21, 2019
Langford, Canada, May 11-12, 2019
Paris, France, May 31-June 2, 2019 **
HSBC WORLD RUGBY MEN’S SEVENS SERIES PANEL –
Rasta Rasivhenge (SARU)
Richard Kelly (NZR)
Damon Murphy (Rugby Australia)
Richard Haughton (RFU)
Matt Rodden (HKRU)
Jeremy Rozier (FFR)
James Doleman (NZR)
Paulo Duarte (FPR)
Sam Grove-White (SRU)
Craig Evans (WRU)
Damian Schneider (UAR)
Jordan Way (Rugby Australia)
HSBC WORLD RUGBY MEN’S SEVENS SERIES SCHEDULE:
Dubai, UAE, November 30-December 1, 2018 **
Cape Town, South Africa, December 8-9, 2018
Hamilton, New Zealand, January 26-27, 2019
Sydney, Australia, February 2-3, 2019 **
Las Vegas, USA, March 1-3, 2019
Vancouver, Canada, March 9-10, 2019
Hong Kong, Hong Kong, April 5-7, 2019
Singapore, Singapore, April 13-14, 2019
London, England, May 25-26, 2019
Paris, France, June 1-2, 2019 **
* All fixtures correct at time of publication/subject to change
** Combined events