Women to blow the whistle this weekend

Getty Images     01 Oct 2009     Getty Images

This will be the first time that a top-level domestic rugby match has had both a female referee and assistant referees.

Waikato’s Lee Jeffrey, who has refereed for 11 years, will control the field of play in her first women’s final, while Canterbury’s Nicky Inwood and Chelsea Gurr will run the sidelines as assistant referees.

Inwood is already an experienced top level women’s referee having been involved in the 2002 and 2006 Women’s Rugby World Cups and the Women’s Six Nations tournament in Europe.

New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) High Performance Referee Manager Lyndon Bray said having the three women involved in the high-profile match was a real achievement for them – and a step forward for women in rugby.

“It is fantastic that we have three women involved in this match. Women’s refereeing in this country is on a high at the moment and their selection for this game is testament to the improvement being made by female referees in this country,” said Bray.

Inwood and Gurr have recently attended the NZRU High Performance Referee camp in Auckland where they participated in workshops and practical exercises with the NZRU High Performance Referee team.

The women’s national provincial championship final between Canterbury and Auckland is being played on Saturday 3 October, 2.00pm at Rugby Park in Christchurch.