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NZ Women Referees get to the Top

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For the first time, women referees have been included in New Zealand's top panels - two in the National Squad and Four in the Wider Training Group.

Rebecca Mahoney, who played for New Zealand Women, and Natarsha Ganley are in the National Squad, the group just below the Professional squad of Test and Super Rugby referees.

Bryce Lawrence, New Zealand's manager of higher performance referees, said: “This is a fantastic day for refereeing and for women in refereeing. Rebecca and Natarsha are quality referees and will no doubt continue to improve in the high-performance environment.

“We are determined to have the best match officials in the world who control elite level games. Having Rebecca and Natarsha in the National Squad will see us developing our top men and women officials together to achieve that goal.

“The growth of the women’s game around the world has meant that rugby unions around the world are thinking about how we can encourage and support women and girls, into refereeing.

“Bringing the best of our male and female referees into one programme gives others something to aim for, and it ensures that we stay relevant to our rugby communities and audience."

The National Squad referees referee in New Zealand's top provincial competitions - the Mitre 10 Cup, Mitre 10 Heartland Championship and the Farah Palmer Cup.

A Heartland Union has produced the only other new face in the National Squad with Damian McPherson from Poverty Bay also joining the ranks.

The former Poverty Bay forward took up the whistle in 2015 and last year refereed the Jock Hobbs Memorial National Under-19 Final in Taupo.

Squads for 2018

Professional Squad

Nick Briant (Bay of Plenty)
Mike Fraser (Wellington)
Glen Jackson (Bay of Plenty)
Jamie Nutbrown (Canterbury)
Brendon Pickerill (North Harbour)
Ben O’Keeffe (Wellington)
Paul Williams (Taranaki)

National Squad
* = new appointment

Tipene Cottrell (Hawke’s Bay)
James Doleman (Otago)
Natarsha Ganley (North Harbour)*
Tim Griffiths (Manawatu)
Nick Hogan (Wellington)
Richard Kelly (Taranaki)
Mike Lash (Tasman)
Damian McPherson (Poverty Bay)*
Rebecca Mahoney (Wairarapa Bush)*
Angus Mabey (Auckland)
James Munro (Canterbury)
Hugh Reed (Hawke’s Bay)
Cam Stone (Taranaki)
Michael Winter (Waikato)
Nick Webster (North Otago)

Wider Training Group

Brittany Andrew (Manawatu)
Jamie Bell (Bay of Plenty)
Jono Bredin (Otago)
Maggie Cogger–Orr (Auckland)
Stuart Curran (Otago)
Sam Fellows (Bay of Plenty)
Karl Hancox (Canterbury)
Lauren Jenner (Counties Manukau)
William Johnston (Taranaki)
Louise Moore (Southland)
Chris Paul (South Canterbury)
Marcus Playle (Auckland)

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