Exciting blend of experience and new talent on HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series refereeing squads

Chris Assmus (Rugby Canada)

World Rugby has announced the panel of referees to officiate on the men’s and women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2016-17, the first within the new four-year Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games cycle.

Rugby sevens made its game-changing debut at Rio 2016 and with several referees moving on after achieving their Olympic dream, there is an exciting injection of new talent to both the men’s and women’s panels, reflecting the strong competition for places.

A record 60 referees were nominated for inclusion on this series from 29 unions across the men’s and women’s panels. In all, 21 match officials have been selected for the the men’s while 12 will officiate on the women’s series.

Olympic gold medal match referees Rasta Rasivhenge and Alhambra Nievas return to the series while five former international players have been selected across the two panels. Notable among the new inclusions is former England sevens player Richard Haughton, who scored more than 100 series tries between 2000 and 2006. He is joined by other former players Damon Murphy (Australia), Joy Neville (Ireland), Rebecca Mahoney (New Zealand) and Hollie Davidson (Scotland). Only three of the 12 men’s referees selected for Rio 2016 remain, with Richard Kelly, Ben Crouse and Rasivhenge adding extensive experience to the panel.

The 2016-17 men’s selection committee is chaired by Anthony Buchanan (Wales) along with recently retired referees Anthony Moyes (Australia) and James McPhail (Netherlands) as well as Ricardo Bordcoch (Argentina) and World Rugby High Performance Sevens Referee Manager Paddy O’Brien. The women’s selection panel is also chaired by Buchanan and features former referees Clare Daniels (England) and David Keane (Ireland) as well as Bordcoch and O’Brien.

Buchanan said: “Following on from the success of the Olympic Games in Rio, the selectors were delighted with the interest shown by unions in nominating referees for the 2016-17 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

“This is the start of the four-year cycle leading into Tokyo 2020 and it is extremely pleasing to note the number of ex-international players now taking up the whistle.

“Many of those who officiated over the last number of years have moved on to 15s or have retired and so now is the time to bring through the new generation of match officials that will bring us to the next Olympic Games.”

Men’s Panel: 

Chris Assmus (Rugby Canada)
Pierre Brousset (FFR)
Ben Crouse (SARU)
Pablo De Luca (UAR)
James Doleman (NZRU)
Paulo Duarte (FPR)
Craig Evans (WRU)
Sam Grove White (SRU)
Richard Haughton (RFU)
Nori Hashimoto (JRFU)
Adam Jones (WRU)
Richard Kelly (NZRU)
Jaco Kotze (SARU)
Damon Murphy (ARU)
Mike O’Brien (USA)
Rasta Rasivhenge (SARU)
Matt Rodden (HKRFU)
Tevita Rokovereni (FRU)
Damian Schneider (UAR)
Kaveni Talemaivavalagi (FRU)
Jordan Way (ARU)

Women’s Panel: 

Aimee Barrett (SARU)
Beatrice Benvenuti (FIR)
Sara Cox (RFU)
Ben Crouse (SARU)
Hollie Davidson (SRU)
Adam Jones (WRU)
Sakurako Kawasaki (JRFU)
Rose La Breche (Rugby Canada)
Rebecca Mahoney (NZRU)
Joy Neville (IRFU)
Alhambra Nievas (FER)
Amy Perrett (ARU)

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