The International Rugby Board has underlined its commitment to the development of
the world’s top female referees with the announcement of its first-ever Women’s
Sarah Corrigan (Australia), Joyce Henry and Sherry Trumbull (Canada), Clare Daniels
(England), Sylvie Bros (France), Gabriel Lee (Hong Kong), Nicky Inwood (New
Zealand) and Dana Teagarden (USA) have been selected for the inaugural Panel
following a detailed review of performances at Women's Rugby World Cup 2010.
Supporting the Panel will be a development pathway that will standardise and
structure performance management and preparations ahead of Rugby World Cup
Sevens 2013, Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 and the Rugby Sevens tournaments
at the 2016 Olympic Games.
The process will also ensure that the world's top female referees will have regular
opportunities to officiate international men’s and women’s matches.
The referees will have access to a centralised IRB fitness, performance analysis and
mentoring programmes that promotes consistency and best practice, mirroring the
system used for their male counterparts on the IRB High Performance Referee Panel.
IRB Referee Development Consultant Bernd Gabbei will manage the programme,
working closely with IRB Referee Manager Paddy O'Brien to develop and implement
structured performance programmes specifically targeted at raising women’s officiating
“The IRB is committed to the growth and development of Women's Rugby worldwide
through our strategic plan and there are now more women and girls participating in the
sport than ever before," said IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset.
"The introduction of a dedicated female referee Panel and performance management
structure is a milestone for the Women's Game and will provide the opportunity and
the environment for the world’s best to realise their potential, while ensuring that
consistency of performance is of paramount importance."
IRB Women's Development Manager Susan Carty added: “This is a major
development for the Women's Game, which is continuing to go from strength to
strength worldwide. Women's Rugby World Cup 2010 set new standards for elite
Women's Rugby on and off the field and today's announcement further underlines our
commitment to increasing global standards."
Gabbei said: "I am very excited about this programme, which is the first of its kind. Our
Member Unions have been extremely supportive and all eight referees have great
potential. We hope that this process will not just enhance standards and promote
consistency, but provide a pathway for more up and coming referees to reach the
Several members of the Panel officiated during the recent RBS Women’s Six Nations,
with Women's Rugby World Cup 2010 Final referee Sarah Corrigan taking charge of
Ireland v England last weekend, while Joyce Henry will take charge of the Bahamas v
Bermuda men's international in April.
The Panel will also benefit from access to existing IRB training and education
programmes, including the Talent Optimisation Programme