IRFU Director of Referees Owen Doyle has congratulated Helen O’Reilly on her selection as one of eight elite referees who will officiate at the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup in France in August.
The tournament runs from August 1 to 17, with the pool stages being played at the FFR headquarters in Marcoussis, near Paris, and the final stages to be held at Stade Jean Bouin, the home of Stade Francais.
Referee preparation for the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup has been intense this year with the elite officials meeting for a three-day camp in Marcoussis prior to the Six Nations, a tournament that was followed up by another training camp in Berlin.
The selected World Cup referees are Ireland’s Helen O’Reilly, Jess Beard and Nicky Inwood (both New Zealand), Leah Berard (USA), Claire Hodnett (England), Marlize Jordaan (South Africa), Amy Perrett (Australia) and Sherry Trumbull (Canada).
The assistant referees who have been appointed are Beatrice Benvenuti (Italy), Sara Cox and Clare Daniels (both England), Marie Lematte (France), Alhambra Nievas (Spain) and Alex Pratt (Scotland).
Refereeing at Rugby World Cup level is another landmark achievement for Helen after she became Ireland’s first female referee to take charge of a Women’s Six Nations match last year.
The Dubliner, who lives in Ashbourne, County Meath and works as a civil servant, took up the whistle after ten years playing club rugby with Ashbourne RFC and St. Mary’s College RFC.
Like many retiring players she still wanted to be involved in the game and was encouraged to try her hand at refereeing, and since then has risen up the ranks at a rapid rate.
Commenting on Helen’s World Cup selection, Owen Doyle, IRFU Director of Referees, said: “We are delighted with the news that Helen has been named on the panel for the Women’s Rugby World Cup.
“It is testament to her dedication and hard work. Irish referees have always been top class and it is fantastic for Helen and other female referees in Ireland that she has been named.
“Referee development officer Dave O’Brien deserves great credit for his coaching role with Helen.”
Helen’s appointments this season have included last November’s England v France encounter at Twickenham, which was broadcast live on Sky Sports, and two recent Six Nations games – France v England in Grenoble and Wales v France in Port Talbot.
She is also set to referee two internationals in July – the meeting of England and the USA on July 2 and the second Test on July 6.
Chairman of the IRB Women’s Match Official Selection Committee, John Jeffrey, said: “These referees and assistant referees have proven themselves to be the top match officials in the Women’s game and fully deserve their appointment to what is Women’s rugby’s pinnacle tournament.
“It is a great achievement for each of them to have been selected and it is a testament to their hard work and dedication. I would like to congratulate them and wish them all the best for the tournament in August.”
The IRB Women’s Match Official Selection Committee is chaired by Jeffrey and comprises Kat Todd (USA Rugby), Michel Lamoulie (FFR), Wayne Erickson (ARU), Bernd Gabbei (IRB) and IRB High Performance Match Officials Manager Joël Jutge.
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