A team of 25 match officials from 15 unions has been announced for the upcoming HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2019 as the countdown to the 2020 Olympic Games gathers pace.
With all roads leading to Tokyo 2020, 15 core men’s teams and 11 core women’s teams will compete for the coveted world series titles and a place at the 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-person match official panel for the women’s series includes five new appointments with Tyler Miller (ARU), Emily Hsieh (USA), Ashleigh Murray (SARU), former Australia player Madeline Putz (ARU) and Lauren Jenner (NZRU) named. All five are set to make their debuts on the world series this season after impressing in the women’s qualifier tournament at the Hong Kong Sevens last April.
This season, Tevita Rokovereni (FRU) will transition from the men’s series panel to join the women’s series. Experienced campaigners, Aimee Barrett-Theron (SARU) and Rebecca Mahoney (NZRU) are stepping down to concentrate on 15s officiating after stellar sevens officiating careers.
Former World Rugby referee of the year Alhambra Nievas (Spain) and experienced referee Ben Crouse (SARU) have both announced their retirements respectively from match officiating.
The 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 “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 20-21 October, 2018. The men’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series will again be contested across 10 rounds with the series opener set for Dubai on 30-1 December, 2018.
Women’s Sevens Series Panel:
Joy Neville (IRFU)Sara Cox (RFU)Hollie Davidson (SRU)Tevita Rokoverneni (FRU)Sakurako Kawasaki (JRFU)Tyler Miller (ARU)Emily Hsieh (USA)Bea Benvenuti (FIR)Madeline Putz (ARU)Ashleigh Murray (SARU)Lauren Jenner (NZRU)Amy Perrett (ARU)Adam Jones (WRU)
Men’s Sevens Series Panel:
Rasta Rasivhenge (SARU)Richard Kelly (NZRU)Damon Murphy (ARU)Richard Haughton (RFU)Matt Rodden (HKRU)Jeremy Rozier (FFR)James Doleman (NZRU)Paulo Duarte (FPR)Sam Grove White (SRU)Craig Evans (WRU)Damian Schneider (UAR)Jordan Way (ARU)
Source: World Rugby