• Team of 26 officials from 12 unions confirmed to take charge of Rugby World Cup 2021 warm-up fixtures
  • Warm-up matches kick off on 24 July when Japan face South Africa and Canada host Italy
  • Rugby World Cup 2021 set to take the world by storm as the very best of women’s rugby heads to New Zealand from 8 October to 12 November, 2022
  • Tournament celebrated 100 days to go last week with tickets going on general sale for first time
  • ‘Family Reunion’ aims to reunite the rugby family with a world-class celebration of sport and entertainment as New Zealand opens its borders after the pandemic  

World Rugby has today confirmed the Emirates Match Officials poised to take charge of the matches that kick off a bumper series of Rugby World Cup 2021 warm-up fixtures.

Having recently celebrated the 100 days to go milestone, Rugby World Cup 2021 kicks off at Auckland’s Eden Park on 8 October, 2022 as 12 of the world’s best women’s 15s teams go head-to-head for the five-week tournament.


A team of 26 referees, assistant referees and television match officials (TMOs) representing 12 different unions will take charge of the international fixtures that will play a pivotal role in the teams’ final preparations for Rugby World Cup 2021.

The panel of seven world class referees – Aimee Barrett-Theron (South Africa), Maggie Cogger-Orr (New Zealand), Sara Cox (England), Aurélie Groizeleau (France), Lauren Jenner (New Zealand), Amber McLachlan (Australia) and Joy Neville (Ireland) will all officiate at Rugby World Cup 2021.

Further appointments will be announced once the remaining fixtures are confirmed.


Rugby World Cup 2021 hosts and reigning champions New Zealand will play a home and away against Australia in the O’Reilly Cup. The Black Ferns recently beat Australia 23-10 in the World Rugby Pacific Four Series.

Spain will join the 12 Rugby World Cup 2021 qualified teams in this series of warm-up matches as a developmental opportunity. Spain missed out on a spot in New Zealand after losing to Italy and Scotland in the RWC 2021 Europe Qualifier. Las Leonas will face Scotland again in August with other fixtures to be confirmed.

The Rugby World Cup 2021 warm-up fixtures will also see Japan play their first international test matches on home soil since 2017 as they face South Africa and Ireland, while Canada and Italy will meet for the first time since Rugby World Cup 1991.

World Rugby Referee Talent Development Manager, Alhambra Nievas, said: “The Rugby World Cup 2021 warm-up fixtures not only provide teams and players with an opportunity to add the finishing touches ahead of their Rugby World Cup campaigns this October and November, but they are crucial for our team of match officials too.

“The team has been working extremely hard since earning their selection for Rugby World Cup 2021 and this series of matches will be their final opportunity to come together and fine-tune their preparations before going into the tournament.

“It’s also a brilliant way for us to provide opportunities to assistant referees and TMOs from the host unions where they will be exposed to world-class women’s 15s rugby. We congratulate all the officials on their well-deserved selection.”

Tickets for Rugby World Cup 2021 are now on sale via the official RWC 2021 ticketing site and start from NZD$5 for children and NZD$10 for adults.