Three New Zealand referees selected for Tokyo Olympics

Olympic Refs

All will make their Olympic debut, in a referee squad with representatives from 12 countries and a blend of highly experience referees and exciting young talent.

New Zealand Rugby’s General Manager of Professional Rugby and Performance Chris Lendrum said it is deserved recognition for three of our leading referees.

“On behalf of New Zealand Rugby I’d like to congratulate James, Lauren and Selica on their selection to officiate at the Olympics. It’s great reward for the work they have been putting in and we look forward to seeing them on the World’s biggest sporting stage.”

Referees were selected by the World Rugby’s Match Official Selection Committee following a comprehensive review of performances and fitness. All selected referees have proven themselves on the annual HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and many also featured at the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 in San Francisco and the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

James Doleman has overseen more than 100 World Series matches since debuting in 2016 in Dubai. Lauren Jenner also debuted in Dubai and has refereed 22 World Series matches. Both Doleman and Jenner are also regular fixtures in 15s game in New Zealand.

Winiata is one of five referees with international playing experience, she has 40 caps for the Black Ferns and is aiming to compete at the Rugby World Cup on home soil next year.   She has refereed at four events on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and impressed when refereeing at the Oceania Rugby Women's Sevens Championship in November 2019.

New Zealand Rugby’s National Referee Manager Bryce Lawrence said selection for Doleman and Jenner is the result several years of hard work.

“Much like our sevens players, this has been four years of work from James and Lauren, we are delighted for them, going to the Olympics is the absolute pinnacle for sevens referees.

Lawrence said Winiata’s quick rise shows the pathway for players thinking about a transition to refereeing.

“Selica’s fitness and knowledge of the game meant she learnt quickly and was very coachable. She’s a great example for players that their experience in the game can make for a smooth transition to refereeing,” said Lawrence.

World Rugby High Performance Sevens Referee Manager Paddy O’Brien said: “We have selected a match officials squad that includes a good mix of experience and youth, with selection based on merit following a thorough evaluation of performances and I thank all those involved in the process.

“Just like the players, coaches and teams, the match officials are preparing and training hard in order to arrive in Tokyo in peak physical and mental condition to perform to the very best of their abilities for what will be a career highlight for all involved.”

Ngā Karere o te Wā

Tirohia Te Katoa