27 February 2013

South Africa: SA Rugby Ref Breaks Barrier for Women

South Africa's Marlize Jordaan made history when she became the first woman to referee in an international sevens rugby match for men in South America this past weekend.

Jordaan, who represented South Africa in 2009 at both the Women's Nations Cup in Canada and Women's Sevens World Cup in Dubai, refereed the match between Peru and Paraguay at the Confederacion Sudamericana de Rugby (Consur) Sevens at the Club Regatas do Flamengo in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.

The tournament served as a qualifier for the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013, which take place in Russia in June.

Bernd Gabbei, the referee development consultant for the International Rugby Board, said Jordaan's appointment for the match between Peru and Paraguay was based on merit after a few superb performances in the women's tournament, which was taking place at the same time.

An achievement to celebrate

Andre Watson, the South African Rugby Union's general manager of referees, said Jordaan's achievement was one to celebrate for the entire South African rugby fraternity.

"Marlize has grown so much in her career as a referee that we weren't surprised when we were told of her appointment," Watson said.

"Last week Marlize refereed the Varsity Cup Young Guns match between the under-20 teams of Kovsies and UP-Tuks, and was very good. In 2012, she also handled two matches in the Absa U19B Tournament with great aplomb.

'Expecting big things'

"We're really expecting big things from her and are very proud of her achievement in South America."

At the Consur Sevens, Uruguay's men and Brazil's women claimed the final remaining spots at the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013, which will take place at Moscow's iconic Luzhniki Stadium from 28 to 30 June.

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