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It’s been one of the busiest and most successful years for Rugby AU referees in a long time and now we have finally reached the end of the season it’s a good time to reflect and celebrate what has been achieved.
Jan – Rugby in January!! Isn’t this the month to enjoy the cricket, beach, beers and hanging out with family and friends? Not when you are involved in rugby, this was one of the busiest months for the Rugby AU National team. Sydney was the host of a number of key events, including the National and SANZAR referee camps and the Sydney 7’s. With 40 (Rugby AU appointed) officials covering 79 matches over 3 days during both the men’s and women’s events, this really set the tone for the mammoth year that we had.
Feb– We thought the Sydney 7’s was huge, the Brisbane Global 10’s was the following week and was the perfect curtain raiser to the upcoming Super Rugby season, not only for the players but for the referees as well. February was also a successful month for our international referees, with 4 heading over to officiate in the 6 Nations. Angus and Amy refereed England v France in the opening round at Twickenham. Rachel Horton and Graham Cooper refereeing their first Women’s 6 nations matches between Italy and Ireland and England Italy respectively.
March/May – We were right into the Super Rugby season by now with 4 referees apart of the SANZAR Match Official team – Angus Gardner, Nic Berry, Rohan Hoffman and Will Housoton. This was also a busy time for our 7’s referees with tournaments in Vegas (Amy and Damon), Vancouver (Damon), Hong Kong (Damon and Jordan), Singapore (Jordan) Kitakyushu and Langford (Amy). Jordan Way refereeing the Gold medal match in Singapore and Amy Perret in Kitakyushu. March also saw the girls involved during the Women’s Nationals VX’s on the Gold Coast. Amber Hibbard refereeing the final between Sydney and QLD. Sydney was also host to the World Rugby Referees Camp at Manly’s Q-Station.
June – A busy month on the representative calendar saw Nic Berry refereeing the final of the JWC between England and NZ in Georgia. The Lions series in New Zealand was huge and our own Angus Gardner was involved in 2 of the warm up matches involving the NZ Barbarians and the Highlanders before heading over to South Africa to Referee SA and France in Johannesburg. Amy and Graham also went to NZ to referee in the Women’s June series in matches between NZ v England and England v Canada respectively.
July/Aug – Finals of Super rugby saw Angus referee a major semi final between Crusaders and the Chiefs. Graham travelled to Ireland for the Women’s World Cup and refereed the semi final between England and France before assisting in the final. Australian school boys saw a few upsets with ACT winning for the first time since 1988 with Lincoln Stollery the referee in the middle.
Sept/Oct – Rugby championship was in full swing with Angus refereeing NZ v Argentina. The 4th instalment of the NRC started with a new team from Fiji which brought a different challenge and new opportunities for our referees. In the closest season to date it was Will Houston who was rewarded the final between QLD Country and Canberra. The inaugural Aon 7’s series kicked off and we saw a wealth of young female talent coming through the ranks with the core referees including Tyler Miller, Maddy Putz-Skiba, Amber Hibbard and Yolande Moevaeo. Angus won his 2nd Roger Vanderfield referee of the Year award at the Rugby AU awards at Royal Randwick. Schools test match series was played between Australia, the Australian Barbarians, New Zealand and Fijian schoolboys with the final played at T.G Millner during the Rams Pasifika Day, with Charlie Hartson, James Quinn, Lincoln Stollery and Pat Davis all involved. National 16’s was played out of the Southport School on the Gold Coast with the final refereed by Sam Jones.
Nov-Dec: For the first time in a long time we had 2 referees involved in the Nov test window. Nic got the call up for in his first tier one test match in a thriller between Scotland and Samoa and Angus refereed the unpredictable France and NZ in Paris. Central Coast 7’s saw the next generation of talent given the opportunity to referee at an International Tournament. This same group went onto referee at at the National 7’s in Bendigo. Oceania 7’s was held in Fiji and saw Tyler and Dru Tonks referee in the torrential rain in one of the toughest regional qualifiers in the World. A couple of weeks ago Damon Murphy refereed his first final at the Dubai 7’s and our next gen females, Tyler and Maddy involved in the invitational tournament. To finish off the year, the SANZAR 2018 referee camp wrapped up over the weekend in Stellenbosch.
It’s been a year full of some wonderful achievements, but this group has a desire to achieve more success in 2018. Now is the time to relax and enjoy the time with your family and we will see you early next year when it all kicks off again!