USA Rugby’s Leah Berard refereed the 2013 IRB Women’s Sevens Rugby World Cup Final June 30 at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia. The final was contested between New Zealand and Canada with the Kiwis running out winners 29-12.
Berard’s run to the Rugby World Cup Final has been impressive and started in December 2011 as Assistant Referee at the IRB Men’s Sevens Series in South Africa. This secured her an appointment to the IRB Women’s Sevens Challenge in Hong Kong in March 2012, where she was appointed to the final in her first international women’s tournament. At the end of 2012 she was appointed to the IRB Women’s Sevens Panel and refereed at the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series.
In addition to Sevens, Leah is quickly establishing herself in 15s, where she refereed her first Test Match between the Women’s Eagles and France in June. She is appointed to the IRB Women’s Nations Cup in Colorado in August that will be contested by the Eagles, Canada, England and South Africa.
“Leah has been inspirational in her dedication and success,” USA Rugby High Performance Referee Manager Richard Every said. “She is a great ambassador for USA Rugby Referees and for the game nationally and internationally. Her achievements to date, I believe, are just the beginning of a long and successful career.”
USA Rugby Referees launched international exchange programs in 2011 with SA Rugby, and recently have been working with NZ Rugby.
“We understand the importance of approaching our programs on an international level to ensure that we can provide the best development and opportunities that are in line with the IRB,” Every said. “Bernd Gabbei, IRB Referee Development Manager, has done a great job of expanding the reach of women’s refereeing and it has allowed the women’s game and women’s referees to grow to the international stage. We have many good women referees and great new prospects in the USA, that we continue to develop with the men in one combined program in both Sevens and 15s.”