World Rugby has today announced the team of Emirates match officials selected for the World Rugby Pacific Four Series 2023 which continues in Brisbane, Australia on 29 June before all four teams descend on Ottawa, Canada, for the finale in July.
USA Rugby Referees Amelia Luciano and Jenny Lui have been selected as Assistant Referees, while WPL Referee Manager, Amanda Cox will also serve as a referee manager with the World Rugby tournament. A USA Eagle Alum, Canada vs New Zealand on July 8 will be Lui's officiating debut on the World Rugby stage.
Thirteen match officials, including nine females have been selected to officiate in the third edition of the Pacific Four Series with Aimee Barrett-Theron (South Africa), Julianne Zussman (Canada) and Sara Cox (England) to take charge of the five matches.
Shanda Assmus (Canada), Kristine Lovatt (USA), Amelia Luciano (USA), Jenny Lui (USA), Tyler Miller (Australia) and Natarsha Ganley (New Zealand) will act as assistant referees with Cholm Johnson (Australia), Andrew Hosie (Canada), Andrew McMenemy (Scotland) and Chris Assmus (Canada) the Television Match Officials.
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Match official highlights:
- Five of the Rugby World Cup 2021 panel have been selected in Aimee Barrett-Theron, Sara Cox, Julianne Zussman, Tyler Miller and Chris Assmus.
- Julianne Zussman made her test debut as a referee in the inaugural Pacific Four Series match between USA and Canada in November 2021
- Sara Cox and Julianne Zussman both refereed in the 2022 edition in New Zealand.
- First international appointments for Jenny Lui and Kristine Lovatt
- A former scrum-half for the USA, Jenny Lui joins Aimee Barrett-Theron and Julianne Zussman among former international players to have followed the path to refereeing
- Amelia Luciano, Kristine Lovatt and Shanda Assmus have previously attended the World Rugby High Performance Academy as part of a talent identification program.
Match official selection was based on merit and follows a comprehensive review of performances over recent international windows. The Pacific Four Series, along with the upcoming WXV competition, will serve as important preparation for the match officials who will be in line for selection for the Rugby World Cup 2025
Contested by Australia, Canada, New Zealand and USA, the Pacific Four Series is an annual, cross-regional competition which acts as one of the principal qualification routes for the inaugural WXV competition which launches this October.
WXV is a new three-level annual global women’s international 15s competition, providing for the first time a meaningful pathway for all unions and a competitive springboard towards an expanded 16-team Rugby World Cup in 2025.
This year’s Pacific Four Series got underway in Madrid at the start of April, with Canada running in eight tries to beat USA 50-17 at Estadio Nacional Universidad Complutense.
The World Rugby Pacific Four Series 2023 next heads to Kayo Stadium in Brisbane on 29 June with Australia set to host defending champions and Rugby World Cup 2021 winners, New Zealand.
The final stage of the competition will take place at TD Place in Ottawa when the USA play Australia and hosts Canada take on New Zealand on 8 July. Six days later, the Black Ferns conclude their Pacific Four Series campaign against USA before Canada play Australia. This will be the first time since 2015 that Canada has hosted a major women’s test series.
World Rugby Women’s High Performance Referee Manager, Alhambra Nievas said: “Congratulations to all the officials that have been selected for the World Rugby Pacific Four Series. The Series, along with the Women’s Six Nations and our exciting new WXV competition, this year provide a great opportunity for us to detect and develop talented officials from a wider group to keep on building the strength of our team of officials from last year’s Rugby World Cup.”