Source: Phil Mingo/Pinnacle/RFU

World Cup Appointments – Women to the Fore

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The nine names to referee the 2021 World Cup offer no surprises, only pleasure that for the first time all of them will be women.

They are: Aimee Barrett-Theron (South Africa), Maggie Cogger-Orr (New Zealand), Sara Cox (England), Hollie Davidson (Scotland), Aurélie Groizeleau (France), Lauren Jenner (New Zealand), Clara Munarini (Italy), Amber McLachlan (Australia) and Joy Neville (Ireland).

This represents the fulfilment of a target set by World Rugby and its referees division, led by Alhambra Nievas, to increase the number of women controlling test matches.
Inevitably the Europe-based referees have a headstart in experience: Joy Neville took the final of the 2017 final, and Sara Cox will be appearing at her fourth consecutive World Cup, no less. That is a remarkable achievement.

The next aim must be for the three Australasian referees (Maggie Cogger-Orr, Lauren Jenner and Amber McLachlan) to officiate at as many summer tests as possible. Practice makes perfect.

The supporting officials will be:

Assistant referees: Doriane Domenjo (France), Tyler Miller (Australia), Nikki O’Donnell (England), Kat Roche (USA), Julianne Zussman (Canada)

TMOs : Chris Assmus (Canada), Lee Jeffrey (New Zealand), Ian Tempest (England), Ben Whitehouse (Wales)

It’s just a pity that only one of the four TMOs, Lee Jeffrey, follows the overall pattern. Perhaps in 2025…