- Match officials appointed for first two rounds of WXV across three continents in October and November
- A total of 18 match officials representing 12 nations will take charge of matches
- WXV will revolutionise the women’s international rugby landscape, providing a meaningful pathway for all unions and a competitive springboard towards an expanded 16-team Rugby World Cup in 2025
World Rugby has confirmed the Emirates Match Official appointments for all three levels of the inaugural WXV competition, which will take place in New Zealand, South Africa and Dubai in October and November.
Appointments have been made for the first two rounds in each level of WXV, World Rugby’s new international women’s 15s competition, with each of the six referees on the respective panels to take charge of one match.
- Kat Roche (USA) has the honour of refereeing the first-ever WXV match with Italy v Japan in Stellenbosch, South Africa on 13 October – an hour before fellow American Amelia Luciano takes charge of the WXV 3 opener between Fiji and Colombia in Dubai.
- This will be Luciano’s first test match in the middle since September 2019.
- A week later Lauren Jenner (New Zealand) will take charge of the opening match in WXV 1 between England and Australia in Auckland, New Zealand.
- Sara Cox (England) will temporarily regain the mantle of most-capped female test referee in her own right when she referees Canada v Wales in Wellington on 21 October.
- However, Aimee Barrett-Theron (South Africa) will draw level with her on 36 tests when she is in the middle for France v Australia in Dunedin on 28 October.
- Eight of the nine referees from Rugby World Cup 2021 will referee in WXV 2, the exception being Joy Neville who is currently acting as a Television Match Official at Rugby World Cup 2023 in France.
- Six will referee in WXV 1 in Barrett-Theron, Maggie Cogger-Orr (New Zealand), Cox, Hollie Davidson (Scotland), Jenner and Amber McLachlan (Australia), with Clara Munarini (Italy) and Aurélie Groizeleau (France) selected for WXV 2.
- Fellow WXV 2 referee Natarsha Ganley (New Zealand) made her test debut with Japan v Fiji in Tokyo on 16 September, while Holly Wood (England) will referee her maiden test with Scotland v Spain on 30 September.
- Former Japan 15s and sevens player Ano Kuwai will make her test debut with the WXV 3 encounter between Ireland and Colombia in Dubai on 21 October.
Appointments for the final round of matches in each level will be made after round two.
World Rugby Women’s High Performance Referee Manager, Alhambra Nievas said: “WXV provides a new and great opportunity to see a wider group of match officials, with a mix of experience and new talent detected through domestic and regional competitions. The new global competition will play a big part in the journey to Rugby World Cup 2025.”
WXV 1 will take place in the New Zealand cities of Auckland, Dunedin and Wellington across three weekends between 20 October and 4 November.
Cape Town and Stellenbosch in South Africa will host WXV 2 with matches being played from 13-28 October. At the same time, Dubai will welcome the WXV 3 teams to The Sevens Stadium. WXV is being supported by partners Mastercard, Capgemini and Gallagher.