World Rugby have announced the panel of referees and assistant referees for Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 in Ireland and there are three Irish referees included.
Former Ireland Women’s captain Joy Neville and Sean Gallagher are among nine match officials named in the WRWC 2017 referee panel, while Helen O’Reilly is one of the tournament’s five assistant referees
England, Australia and Ireland will provide two referees each, with the panel also featuring one official from Hong Kong, Spain and South Africa.
The list of referees is: Amy Perrett (Australia), Graham Cooper (Australia), Tim Baker (Hong Kong), Joy Neville (Ireland), Sean Gallagher (Ireland), Sara Cox (England), Claire Hodnett (England), Aimee Barrett (South Africa) and Alhambra Nievas (Spain), the joint-recipient of the World Rugby Referee award for 2016.
Nievas recently took charge of the Grand Slam decider between Ireland and England in Donnybrook on St. Patrick’s Day.
A number of the panel are no strangers to the Women’s Rugby World Cup stage, Perrett having refereed the 2014 final between England and Canada with Cox, Hodnett and Nievas also among the match officials for that tournament in France. Meanwhile, Barrett and Neville both played on the World Cup stage before turning to refereeing.
Five assistant referees, each representing a different country, have also been named – Rose Labreche (Canada), Beatrice Benvenuti (Italy), Marie Lematte (France), Helen O’Reilly (Ireland) and Ian Tempest (England).
The selections were made after a comprehensive review of refereeing performances by the World Rugby Match Officials Selection Committee.
World Rugby High Performance 15s Match Official Manager Alain Rolland said: “Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 is shaping up to be a massive tournament and the match officials are preparing with that in mind.
“I’m really happy with the performance of those selected over the last season and it was very difficult to narrow it down to a panel of nine referees and five assistant referees.
“The competition at the top level of the Women’s game has grown rapidly, even since the last World Cup in 2014, and I’m confident the panel will match that and perform well at the elite level.”
The individual match appointments, along with the selection of the television match officials, will be announced by World Rugby in due course.
For more on #WRWC2017, visit www.rwcwomens.com.