Winiata ready for next career test

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Winiata, who has been on a rapid escalator since expressing an interest in refereeing, told that making the World Cup team remained her goal.


"[There's] nothing better than being able to play a World Cup on home soil.


"It's massive. To be able to host our first ever women's World Cup here on home soil is something that a lot of teams that have gone before me have been pushing for many years, and to finally now have that is going to be incredible," she said.


It was yet another chance to inspire more New Zealand girls to play the game growing so fast world wide.


But before that happens, the next phase of her career is in refereeing.


"Last year I kind of considered what would be another pathway for me when I finally decide to give up rugby, and I wasn't too sure.


"I want to stay in the game if possible and that's when I thought about reffing," she said.


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Introduced to the discipline by refereeing secondary school tournaments she had help from national referee manager Bryce Lawrence and Matt Peters from New Zealand Rugby.


"I thought, well, you could still be out there running around with teams and it wasn't until this year that I decided to pick up the whistle and see whether or not it was for me. Things have happened a lot quicker than I expected," she said.


That speed of action will see here involved in the Dubai Sevens next weekend.


"I'm really excited to have that opportunity to go over there. I didn't think I would get on the women's series for another year at least, so for me I don't think it's going to sink in until I get over there and get my first tournament done because right now you kind of think, 'wow, really? I'm going to Dubai to ref?'


"I'm really excited, I'm just really willing to learn off the other more experienced refs that will be there.


"I just want to go over there with an open mind and be open to listening and taking on board the advice that I get because I want players and I want other refs to be able to respect me as a ref," she said.


"The only way you get that is by listening and ensuring that you start to do the things that are going to help you out on the pitch."


Training requirements for refereeing and those as a player still eligible for the 15-player game were not a problem.


"You look at training as a player, you've got to get into the gym, you've got to go out and do conditioning and you've still got to analyse games to make yourself better.


"And it's really similar as a ref. You've still got to manage your condition, get into the gym and analyse yourself as a ref. So I don't really see it being too different."


Her background in the police also helped her cope with different situations and to make decisions quickly.


"You don't have time to think about it too much," she said.


"That's what it's like out on the rugby field, especially in the game of sevens. It's a very quick game and it's very critical that as a ref you're making the right decision but at the right time.


"So, I think a lot of it does carry over from being a police officer. As a police officer you need good clear communication, and the same as a ref.


"If you can provide that to the players you're going to gain more respect from them because they're going to understand what it is you want from them," she said.


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