Chelsea Gurr Interview     03 Sep 2013    

br />Why refereeing – and in that case, why referee rugby?

I started umpiring netball thinking I could make it to an international level as I wasn’t going to make it as a player. I have been around rugby for ever with Dad coaching and refereeing so it was kind of ingrained in me.

What does your training programme look like?

My training programme is a little relaxed at the moment after taking a short break to rejuvenate, but I’m getting back into it now with Sevens starting back up. I train with our Canterbury referees every Wednesday, and do my own training every other day of the week… and of course game day is Saturday. Training is generally a mixture of long and short intervals, and gym work for me personally to improve my speed off the mark.

What opportunities are there for female referees here and internationally?

There are huge opportunities for females, and I encourage them to take them. Nationally there are five of us in the squad so would be great to get some girls coming through and reaching the Women's Provincial Championship (WPC). With Sevens becoming part of the Olympics women’s rugby has increased in popularity nationally and internationally, so with more teams we need more referees. The Sevens series has grown from 4 tournaments last season to 6 next season worldwide so there is some great travelling involved. Alongside Sevens I feel that Fifteens has also gained a bit more momentum and exposure – an example being two new women’s teams joining the WPC this year. The Olympics in Rio will also be a great opportunity.

What has been the high point of your refereeing career to date?

Most recently, I refereed a sevens semi-final at Twickenham in front of 45000 people (amazing!) and was appointed to my first final in Amsterdam the final leg of the Women's Sevens World Series. This was a big moment as NZ were in the final and it was the first time a referee has been in control of a final with their home country involved. Then I was involved  at Rugby World Cup Sevens in Russia. I was appointed to the Canterbury Metro Colts premier final, which meant a lot and I was AR for the third Black Ferns v England Test on my Birthday!

What do you do when you’re not training or refereeing?

Haha. I try to sleep! I work for Fulton Hogan Earthquake Rebuild Team in Christchurch doing document control. Thankfully they have been understanding so far.