Refs for Women's RWC Named
World Rugby has announced the names of the nine referees for the Women's Rugby World Cup to take polace in Ireland from 9-26 August 2017.
It has also named five assistant referees for the tournament.
Three of the 14 officials are men. Eleven of the 14 are from the Northern Hemisphere plus two from Australia and one from South Africa.
Referees: Amy Perrett (Australia, pictured above), Graham Cooper (Australia), Tim Baker (Hong Kong), Joy Neville (Ireland), Sean Gallagher (Ireland), Sara Cox (England), Claire Hodnett (England), Aimee Barrett-Theron (South Africa) and Alhambra Nievas (Spain).
Assistant referees: Rose Labrèche (Canada), Beatrice Benvenuti (Italy), Marie Lematte (France), Helen O'Reilly (Ireland) and Ian Tempest (England).
Six of the 14 were at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio - Amy Perrett, Sara Cox, Aimee Barrett-Theron, Alhambra Nievas, who refereed the Women’s Sevens final at the Games, Rose Labrèche and Beatrice Benvenuti.
Alhambra Nievas was the joint recipient, with Rasta Rasivhenge, of World Rugby's award for Referee of the Year.
Two of the referees played for their countries at the Women's Rugby World Cup - Amy Barrett-Theron and Joy Neville.
Amy Perrett refereed the last Women's world Cup Final, in 2014 between England and Canada. Also officiating at that World Cup and back again this year are Sara Cox, England's first full-time woman referee, Claire Hodnett and Alhambra Nievas.
The announcement states that the selection was made by the World Rugby Match Officials Selection Committee after a comprehensive review of refereeing performances.
World Rugby's refereeing boss, former international player and referee 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 television match officials, will be announced in due course.
Source: World Rugby
Photo: Aimee Perrett