Cape Town - South Africa’s top female referee, Aimee Barrett-Theron, has been named on the nine-member referee panel to officiate at the Women’s Rugby World Cup in Ireland from August 9-26.
Barrett-Theron is the only South African referee on the panel which consists of 14 match officials in total - nine referees and five assistant referees.
Australia’s Amy Perrett and Graham Cooper, Tim Baker from Hong Kong, Ireland’s Joy Neville and Sean Gallagher, Sara Cox and Claire Hodnett from England, and Spain’s Alhambra Nievas were the other referees named on the World Cup panel.
Barrett-Theron’s selection marks another significant milestone in her career, which has flourished in the last two seasons.
She officiated at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, the Women’s Six Nations and the World Cup Qualifiers, while she also became the first female referee on SA Rugby’s national panel to take charge of a men’s match in a domestic competition in the Varsity Shield.
“I would like to congratulate Aimee on this remarkable achievement, we are very proud of her,” said SA Rugby President Mark Alexander.
“The best referees in the world are selected to officiate at the World Cup, and the fact that Aimee has consistently featured on the World Rugby panels in the last two seasons is a testament of the high quality of her refereeing. She been an inspiration to the female referees in the country, and we wish her luck for the World Cup.”
Commenting on the referee panel, World Rugby High Performance 15s Match Official Manager 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.”