• World Rugby names an all-female team of referees for Rugby World Cup 2021
  • 18-strong team of match officials selected from 11 unions
  • Six referees set to make their Rugby World Cup debut in New Zealand
  • Team selected on merit after comprehensive review of performances over the last four international windows
  • Rugby World Cup 2021 set to be ultimate celebration of women’s rugby, taking place in New Zealand from 8 October-12 November 2022
  • Team and venue ticketing packs are currently on sale for Rugby World Cup 2021 with general admission tickets going on sale 30 June 

World Rugby has confirmed an 18-strong team of match officials for Rugby World Cup 2021 which will be led by an all-female team of referees.

The team that will officiate the 26 matches comprises nine referees, five assistant referees and four television match officials (TMOs), selected from 11 different unions.

Selection for the pinnacle tournament in women’s 15s rugby follows a comprehensive review of match official performances over the last four international windows and features an exciting blend of youth and experience.

The highly anticipated tournament, which runs from 8 October- 12 November, 2022, will take place in New Zealand and be the first time that the women’s edition has been hosted in the southern hemisphere.


The RWC 2021 match officials team:

Referees (nine): Aimee Barrett-Theron (South Africa), Maggie Cogger-Orr (New Zealand), Sara Cox (England), Hollie Davidson (Scotland), Aurélie Groizeleau (France), Lauren Jenner (New Zealand), Clara Munarini (Italy), Amber McLachlan (Australia), Joy Neville (Ireland).

Assistant referees (five): Doriane Domenjo (France), Tyler Miller (Australia), Maria Beatrice Benvenuti (Italy) replacing Nikki O’Donnell (England) who will no longer participate, Kat Roche (USA), Julianne Zussman (Canada)

TMOs (four): Chris Assmus (Canada), Lee Jeffrey (New Zealand), Ian Tempest (England), Ben Whitehouse (Wales)

Neville, who refereed the Rugby World Cup 2017 final, is selected for her second tournament along with Aimee Barrett-Theron. For Cox, New Zealand will be her fourth Rugby World Cup after she refereed at Ireland 2017 and was an assistant referee in 2010 and 2014.

An assistant referee in 2017, this will be Davidson’s first Rugby World Cup with the whistle. Cogger-Orr, Groizeleau, Jenner, Munarini and McLachlan will all make their Rugby World Cup debuts in New Zealand later this year.

Lee Jeffrey, the sole female among the four TMOs, will also make her Rugby World Cup debut.

World Rugby Chairman, Sir Bill Beaumont, said: “I would like to congratulate the 18 match officials selected to officiate Rugby World Cup 2021. Rugby World Cup is the pinnacle event in 15s rugby and to earn selection – whether you’re a player or a match official – is a huge achievement and something to be extremely proud of.

“Fifteen of the 18 match officials selected being female not only demonstrates the strength and depth of elite level match officials across the globe, but also the commitment that World Rugby and its member unions have made to developing women in rugby and increasing the visibility of females within our sport across multiple pathways.

“Rugby World Cup 2021 promises to be an exceptional celebration of women’s rugby and we wish the team of match officials the very best for their final months of preparation.”

World Rugby Referee Talent Development Manager, Alhambra Nievas, added: “After a comprehensive process we are delighted to be able to confirm the team of match officials for Rugby World Cup 2021. Selection followed a rigorous process that was based on merit and form, and with such strength and depth in the pool of match officials we are fortunate to work with, selecting a final team of 18 was not easy. I’d like to personally congratulate everyone on their selection and thank all of those involved in the process.

“We have been working hard to foster a strong team ethic among the group; something that is just as important for match officials as it is for players. Trust and cohesion are vital, and we look forward to seeing the hard work pay off on the field of play in New Zealand.”

Following its postponement from 2021, Rugby World Cup will kick off at Auckland’s Eden Park on 8 October, 2022 as 12 of the world’s top women’s 15s teams go head-to-head to determine who will be crowned world champions.


The referee for the opening fixture of the tournament will receive her whistle from adventurers Ron Rutland and Adam Nunn as they complete Race to Rugby World Cup 2021. Raising funds for Rugby World Cup’s Principal Charity Partner ChildFund Rugby, Rutland and Nunn are currently embarking on an epic quest to cycle 16,500km from Tokyo to Auckland.

The pair are aiming to make this trip, the second Race to Rugby World Cup, the most interactive yet and are calling on fans to ‘sponsor a kilometre’ for US$10 with all proceeds going to ChildFund Rugby. They are also encouraging rugby communities along the way to get involved and reach out to them as they undertake their journey. Progress can be followed via the www.racetorugbyworldcup.com website and @RaceToRWC on Twitter.