Not only is the showcase fifteen-a-side tournament set to break new ground in broadcast and attendance figures, elevating the profile of the women's game to new heights, but the International Rugby Board has announced that 10 of the world's leading female referees will be included in the panel of 14 match officials for the tournament, which kicks off on August 20, 2010.
Experienced officials Sarah Corrigan (Australia), Clare Daniels (England), Joyce Henry (Canada), Lee Wing Yi Gabriel (Hong Kong), Dana Teagarden (USA), Sherry Trumbull (Canada) and Nicky Inwood (New Zealand), will be joined by David Keane (Ireland), Andrew McMenemy (Scotland), Sébastien Minery (France) and Javier Mancuso (Argentina) within the selection of 11 referees.
Keane, who works as a Referee Development Officer with the IRFU, is no stranger to international tournaments, having captained the 40-strong match official panel at the IRB Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament in Dubai earlier this year.
He played rugby up until the age of 17 when an injury ended his playing career. Wanting to continue his involvement with the game, he took up refereeing at his school, Clongowes Wood.
Now 32, the Dubliner is well known on the domestic scene and has refereed matches in the Magners League and European Challenge Cup as well as underage and 'A' internationals.
He made his representative debut when he refereed the Namibia v Tunisia Rugby World Cup qualifier in Windhoek in October 2006.
In addition, the match official panel at the 2010 tournament will also feature three specialist assistant referees with previous Women's Rugby World Cup match officials Debbie Innes (England) and Kerstin Ljungdahl (Germany) joined by Barbara Guastini (Italy).
IRB Referee Manager Paddy O'Brien said: "The selection of 10 female match officials represents the increasing depth of refereeing talent within international women's rugby.
"This selection represents a great opportunity for referees who have proven themselves on the women's international scene to showcase their ability in the world's premier women's rugby tournament.
"It will be a very exciting moment for the women's game."
With less than a year to go until the tournament kicks off in London, planning and preparation is on track to ensure that the 2010 Women's Rugby World Cup is a huge success, providing a global festival of international women's rugby at its best.
Susan Carty, IRB Women's Development Manager, said: "The 2010 Women's Rugby World Cup promises to be a special occasion. Fans attending the three-week event can look forward to competitive matches, superb venues and an attractive and innovative ticketing policy.
"Women's rugby continues to go from strength to strength around the world and today's announcement clearly highlights that it is not just on the playing side where significant advances are being made.
"The selection of 10 female match officials from eight Member Unions further underlines the development of the women's game at all levels."
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