Two SA referees on Rugby World Cup Sevens panel

South Africa’s AJ Jacobs and Morne Ferreira have been included in a strong panel of match officials for the Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament that will take place in Cape Town from 9 to 11 September 2022.

World Rugby announced the names of 18 men and women match officials, representing 13 countries, who will do duty at the four-yearly global event, on Friday.

“Both AJ and Morne are experienced referees in the 15s and sevens codes and their performances on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in the last few months have been superb, so we are very proud of them being included on the RWC Sevens panel,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby.

“The naming of the match officials for Rugby World Cup Sevens is another milestone in the build-up to the tournament, which will be like no other seen in South Africa before, and I’m sure the men and women selected to carry the whistle at this tournament will do very well to ensure it is the spectacle we expect.”

Apart from Jacobs and Ferreira, the following eight referees were chosen for the men’s event: Gianluca Gnecchi (Italy), Adam Leal (England), Jérémy Rozier (France), Reuben Keane (Australia), Jordan Way (Australia), Nick Hogan (New Zealand), Tevita Rokovereni (Fiji) and Francisco Gonzalez (Urugauy).

The referees for the women’s event are: Ben Breakspear (Wales), Hollie Davidson (Scotland), Eki Fanlo (Spain), Lauren Jenner (New Zealand), Francisco Lopez (USA), Tyler Miller (Australia), Selica Winiata (New Zealand), and Julianne Zussman (Canada).

Rozier and Davidson are the only officials to have refereed at a previous Rugby World Cup Sevens, having been involved at the 2018 edition in San Francisco.

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “I would like to congratulate the panel on their selection for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022 in Cape Town. The fact that 13 nations are represented speaks volumes about the global appeal of the sport.

“Cape Town promises to be an exceptional spectacle, a showcase of rugby sevens at its best and a celebration of friendship and togetherness following the pandemic.”

World Rugby High Performance Sevens Referee Manager Paddy O’Brien added: “Just like a player, a referee strives to be selected for the big events and the 18 selected for RWC Sevens 2022 are no exception. Apart from the Olympics, RWC Sevens is the biggest sevens tournament, and this group of referees are excited and fully prepared for the showpiece event of our sport.”

Apart from the pre-qualified eight men’s and five teams for the tournament, which include the Blitzboks and the Springbok Women’s Sevens, a further 12 men’s and seven women’s teams have already qualified.

This list includes African sides Madagascar (women), Uganda, Zimbabwe and Kenya (men), while the Canadian men and women’s teams, as well as men’s teams from Australia, Samoa, Tonga, Jamaica, Hong Kong, South Korea, Uruguay and Chile, and women’s teams from Fiji, Japan, China, Brazil and Colombia have also qualified. Eight European teams must still qualify – four men and four women

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