Fri 13 Dec 2019 | 01:20

Introducing the Sevens Referees

Introducing the Sevens Referees
Fri 13 Dec 2019 | 01:20
Introducing the Sevens Referees

It’s Sevens time in Cape Town – big party time with rugby as the excuse. Rugby needs referees and the referees have also had a chance to enjoy summer days at the fairest Cape in the whole circumference of the globe, as Sir Francis Drake, pirate, described it in 1579.


Paddy O’Brien, the top international referee of yesteryear, is in charge of World Rugby’s Sevens referees. He got from each a piece of information which helps to put them into context. The astonished locals are likely to be in good mood when the Sevens put into Cape Town this weekend.

This year for the first time there will be women referees as well as men heading over to Cape Town Stadium near the Waterfront on Table Bay, where the first man from Europe put in on a stormy day, the 22 November 1497, and met the astonished locals. Now the locals will meet the rugby arrivals with great enjoyment.

The Referees

Men: James Doleman (New Zealand), Francisco Gonzalez (Uruguay), Richard Haughton (England), Richard Kelly (New Zealand), Damon Murphy (Australia), Matt Rodden (Hong Kong), Nehuén Gabriel Jauri (Argentina), Jordan Way (Australia)

Women: Lauren Jenner (New Zealand), Sakurako Kawasaki (Japan), Ashleigh Murray (South Africa), Joy Neville (Ireland), Amy Perrett (Australia), Selica Winiata (New Zealand), Julianne Zussman (Canada)

Selica Winiata, who is the current fullback for the New Zealand Black Ferns, replaces Sara Cox of England who is injured. O’Brien says of Selica: “She is an outstanding talent in Year One of refereeing.” Selica is not the only referee who has played internationally.


Brief Referee Information

Damon Murphy

In his playing days he played for the Queensland Reds in Super Rugby and for the Australian Sevens team from 2004 to 2010.

He started refereeing three days ago.


He talks happily of his “day job”. “I own and run Bareback Biltong, the best Biltong in Australia!”

Toto Rivero

Nehuén Jauri Rivero is a 26-years-old medical student from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

“I played rugby for 10 years. This is my first appointment to the World Rugby’s Sevens Series.”

Matt Rodden

“I was born in New Zealand, but been living in Hong Kong since 2013. My first World Rugby’s Sevens Series tournament was in Singapore in 2016. I have refereed 90 games on the Series.”

Selica Winiata

“I’m Selica Winiata, a constable within the New Zealand police and a current member of the Black Ferns.

“I am currently in my first season of refereeing on the World Rugby Sevens Series. I want inspire others by giving back to the game and showing there are other pathways within the game of rugby.”

Joy Neville

She’s an Irish referee after being an Irish player, a Grand Slam winner, capped 70 times for Ireland, whom she captained.
She has been refereeing in the Women’s Rugby World Series for the last three years.”

She says: “I’m a fan of food and good company.”

Julianne Zussman

Answering to Zuss, Julianne Zussman is from Victoria, Canada. She debuted on the World Rugby Sevens Series in Glendale 2019.

“I took up refereeing after retiring from the Canadian women’s 15s team in 2018.”

Francisco González

He stopped playing in 2012 after an injury. Ii is his first on the World Rugby Sevens referees’ panel.

Amy Perrett

Amy Perrett, 30 years old from Sydney, is a full-time referee. She debuted on the Women’s World Series in Dubai in 2012 and has been on and off the circuit since then.

Jordan Way

Tall Jordan Way is a referee from Brisbane, Australia in his third year on the World Sevens Series. Jordan began refereeing when he was injured, to give back to the sport and remain involved with rugby.

Richard Kelly

The 37-year-old from New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand, started refereeing in 2006 and has refereed on the World Rugby Sevens Series since 2013.

He is the most experienced men’s Sevens referee with 268 World Rugby Sevens Series games to his credit. He refereed at Rio Olympics in 2016, the Gold Coast Commonwealth games in 2018 and San Francisco Sevens Rugby World Cup in 2018.

Richard Haughton (England)

“After six years playing on the international Sevens circuit and 14 years of professional rugby, I took up the whistle in France in 2014. I returned to England in 2016 to continue my development with help from the Hertfordshire Referees’ Society and the RFU.

“This is my fourth year on the circuit as a referee and my fourth time refereeing at the Cape Town Sevens.”

Lauren Jenner

“I am a 22-year-old from Auckland, New Zealand. This is my second year on the circuit as a world series Sevens referee.”

Ashleigh Murray

“I am Ashleigh Murray from Johannesburg, South Africa. I began refereeing in 2011, when I worked my way up through the ranks in the Golden Lions. In 2014 I was selected to be part of the South African Women’s Panel and sent to Dubai in 2017. From Dubai, I was selected to go to the Hong Kong Qualifiers. I was first appointed to the Women’s World Series in 2018/2019, this will be my second year on the series.”

Photo: Sevens Referees at Newlands by Eugene de Villiers

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