- Match officials confirmed for 10 warm-up fixtures across four continents in September and October as well as the inaugural WXV competition
- A total of 18 match officials representing 12 nations will take charge of the 27 test matches
- WXV will revolutionize the women’s international rugby landscape, providing for the first time a meaningful pathway for all unions and a competitive springboard towards an expanded 16-team Rugby World Cup in 2025
- Match official profiles are available in the World Rugby Media Zone
World Rugby has today announced the team of Emirates Match Officials selected for the upcoming September and October women’s internationals and three-level inaugural WXV competition to be held in New Zealand, South Africa and Dubai between 13 October to 4 November.
A total of 19 match officials representing 13 nations will take charge of the 10 warm-up fixtures in September and October across seven countries in four continents, with teams and officials preparing for the further 18 matches that comprise the WXV competition.
The appointments for WXV matches will be made later this month.
- Natarsha Ganley (New Zealand) and Holly Wood (England) will both make their test debuts, while Ella Goldsmith (Australia) receives her first appointment from World Rugby.
- Goldsmith takes charge of the opening test between Japan and Fiji in Fukuoka on 10 September with Ganley refereeing the second in Tokyo on 16 September.
- On the same day, Aimee Barrett-Theron (South Africa) will draw level with Sara Cox (England) as the most-capped female referee of all time with South Africa v Kenya her 35th test.
- Wood’s debut will follow on 30 September with Scotland v Spain in Edinburgh.
- Precious Pazani (Zimbabwe) takes charge of the final warm-up match on 7 October between WXV 2 rivals South Africa and Samoa.
- Lauren Jenner (New Zealand), Amber McLachlan (Australia), Kat Roche (USA), Aurélie Groizeleau (France) and Clara Munarini (Italy) to also referee warm-up matches in September.
- Six referees have been selected for each level of WXV competition.
- Former Japan 15s and sevens player Ano Kuwai is poised for her test debut as a referee after being named on the panel for WXV 3 in Dubai.
WXV is a new three-level annual global women’s international 15s competition, providing for the first time a meaningful pathway for all unions and a competitive springboard towards an expanded 16-team Rugby World Cup in 2025.
New Zealand will welcome the world’s top teams –Australia, Canada, England, France and Wales – in WXV 1 across three match weekends from 20 October to 4 November.
Six referees have been named on the panel for WVX 1, all of whom took charge of matches at Rugby World Cup 2021 in New Zealand last year, in Aimee Barrett-Theron (South Africa), Maggie Cogger-Orr (New Zealand), Sara Cox (England), Hollie Davidson (Scotland), Lauren Jenner (New Zealand/FIR) and Amber McLachlan (Australia).
Cape Town and Stellenbosch in South Africa will play host to the second level WXV 2 with the Springbok Women hosting Japan, Italy, Samoa, Scotland and USA with matches being played across three weekends from 13-28 October.
The panel for WXV 2 features Natarsha Ganley (New Zealand), Aurélie Groizeleau (France), Clara Munarini (Italy), Precious Pazani (Zimbabwe), Kat Roche (USA) and Holly Wood (England)
The third level WXV 3 dates will mirror the same weekends as WXV 2 with Colombia, Fiji, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Kenya and Spain heading to The Sevens Stadium in Dubai.
Doriane Domenjo (France), Ella Goldsmith (Australia), Ano Kuwai (Japan), Maria Latos (Germany), Amelia Luciano (USA) and Adèle Robert (Belgium) make up the panel for WXV 3.
All three levels will be played in a cross-pool format.
WXV is being supported by partners Mastercard, Capgemini and Gallagher.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “I would like to congratulate the match officials on their selection for the upcoming women’s tests along with the highly anticipated inaugural WXV competition. The fact that 13 nations are represented speaks volumes about the hard work being done around the world to develop talented women’s match officials as the sport continues its exciting growth.
“WXV promises to be an exceptional spectacle, a showcase of rugby at its best and a taste of what’s to come at the expanded 16-team Rugby World Cup in England in less than two years’ time.”
World Rugby Women’s High Performance Referee Manager, Alhambra Nievas said: “It’s an exciting time to be involved in women’s international rugby and I would like to congratulate all of the match officials that have been selected for the upcoming September and October internationals along with WXV across the three locations.
“These selections are based on merit and follow a comprehensive review of performances over recent international windows and will serve as important preparation for the match officials who will build towards selection for Rugby World Cup 2025 in England.”