World Rugby has announced the 23 match officials that will take charge when rugby returns to the Olympic Games this year. The Women’s competition kicks off between 6-8 August, men’s from 9-11 August, both in Rio de Janeiro.
Chairman of the World Rugby Match Official Selection Committee John Jeffrey said: “I wish to send my congratulations to the men and women selected to referee at the Olympic Games this year.
“It is the culmination of incredibly hard work over many years and, under the leadership of sevens referee manager Paddy O’Brien, they can go on to represent their unions and World Rugby on the biggest sporting stage of them all.”
|Aimee Barrett (South Africa)||Jess Beard (New Zealand)|
|Beatrice Benvenuti (Italy)||James Bolabiu (Fiji)|
|Sara Cox (England)||Sakurako Kawasaki (Japan)|
|Rose LaBrèche (Canada)||Gabriel Lee (Hong Kong)|
|Alhambra Nievas (Spain)||Amy Perrett (Australia)|
|Alex Pratt (Scotland)||Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa)|
|Mike Adamson (Scotland)||Federico Anselmi (Argentina)|
|Nick Briant (New Zealand)||Ben Crouse (South Africa)|
|Craig Joubert (South Africa)||Richard Kelly (New Zealand)|
|Anthony Moyes (Australia)||Matthew O’Brien (Australia)|
|Taku Otsuki (Japan)||Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa)|
|Alexandre Ruiz (France)||Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)|
Rugby World Cup 2011 final referee Craig Joubert, who has been selected in the men’s panel, said: “A few years ago when I first heard that rugby was to be an Olympic sport, I started dreaming about returning to sevens.
“The environment remains as close-knit as I remember and the welcome from the sevens family has been exceptionally warm. I’m thrilled to be selected in this group of officials as we build towards the Olympic Games in Rio.”
His South African colleague, Rasta Rasivhenge, who will referee men’s and women’s matches in Rio, said: “It’s a dream come true for me, something I have always dreamed of being a part of, as this is the biggest stage of all when it comes to competitive sport. It’s a life-changing opportunity and an experience that will start a new era in my refereeing career.”
Australian referee Amy Perrett, who battled back from injury to be included on the women’s panel, said: “The Olympic Games are incredibly special, something you dream about as a kid but never think you could actually get there. To be representing my country at the biggest sporting event in the world, and to be in the same arena as some of the greatest athletes of our generation, is such a great honour and a privilege.”
Spain’s Alhambra Nievas said: “It is a dream come true as I’ve always wished to be part of the Olympic Games. It is a great opportunity for all of us on the panel and now our goal as a team is to arrive in the best condition so we can contribute to a successful and amazing tournament in Rio, and show the world the unique essence of our sport.”