World Rugby has announced the match official appointments for the Women’s Six Nations 2016, which gets underway in February.
Appointments were made by the World Rugby Match Official Selection Committee at its recent meeting and follow a detailed review of all recent performances.
The championship opener between Scotland and England on Friday, 5 February will be refereed by Jess Beard of New Zealand with Canadian Sherry Trumbull taking charge of the last match, on Sunday, 20 March between Ireland and Scotland.
Five referees – Beard, Trumbull, Leah Berard of USA, Sara Cox of England and Australia’s Amy Perrett – have received two appointments each with a total of 10 referees involved.
As usual, the appointments for the 15 championship fixtures feature a blend of northern and southern hemisphere match officials. Rose Labrèche (Canada) and Marie Lematte (France) will make their Six Nations debuts in the 2016 championship.
World Rugby Match Official Selection Committee Chairman John Jeffrey said: “With Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 still two years away, we are conscious of developing fresh talent as we prepare for that tournament in Ireland so the appointments of Rose and Marie are pleasing in that regard.
“That said, we also have some more experienced officials in the panel so there is a good balance and plenty of competition for places. As always, our focus continues to be clear and consistent decision-making and the highest standards of physical conditioning.”
The selection system allows for movement in and out of the panel based on form and rewards the top performers and young referees who have graduated through the performance pathway. Every performance is closely scrutinised and reviewed to ensure accountability. The assistant referees for the Women’s Six Nations are appointed by the respective host unions.
Women’s rugby has enjoyed record growth globally in 2015 and next year will be a busy year for the international game as the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 qualification process heats up.