With just over four months to go, the world’s elite female match officials are on the countdown towards Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 and are fine-tuning their skills to be ready for the showcase event in the women’s Game.
The tournament, which takes place in Paris from August 1 to 17, will feature the world’s top 12 teams competing in three pools. Champions New Zealand will be out to defend the title they won in England four years ago and while the players are working hard in the gym and on the training grounds, so too are the match officials.
Ten referees have met at the state-of-the-art Olympic Training Centre in Berlin, Germany, to review performances and trends from the Women’s Six Nations and to prepare for some upcoming internationals as well as the big one in August.
As in the men’s Game, the scrum and the tackle were key areas of focus for the referees and their coaches with a fair contest demanded.
IRB High Performance Match Officials Manager Joel Jutge said: “All our attentions as far as women’s Fifteens is concerned are focused on the Rugby World Cup in France. At the meeting, we examined the various rounds of the Six Nations using clips from all matches to discuss focus areas.
“It was an extremely useful workshop for all concerned as the key findings were agreed, particularly in relation to the scrum and the tackle. We are now all on the same page for future matches leading into summer internationals and WRWC 2014.
“In the scrum we want to see a higher percentage of balls leave successfully with less collapsing and a more stable platform. The key to the tackle area is quality – we want a high-quality contest for the ball with a fair clean-out leading to quick ball.”
The referees who attended the workshop were: Beatrice Benvenuti (Italy), Claire Hodnett and Sara Cox (both England), Helen O'Reilly (Ireland), Sherry Trumbull (Canada), Nicky Inwood and Jess Beard (both New Zealand), Marlize Jordaan (South Africa), Leah Berard (USA) and Amy Perrett (Australia).
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