Former Black Fern rugby player Rebecca Mahoney is set to become the first New Zealand female referee to officiate a first class men’s fixture when she controls the Mitre 10 Heartland Championship match between Thames Valley and King Country this Saturday.
Mahoney was one of two women named in the High Performance Referee National Squad earlier this year with this weekend’s appointment acknowledging her progress in the refereeing ranks.
“This appointment comes down to the hard work and commitment that Rebecca has shown to her refereeing,” said New Zealand Rugby’s National Referee Manager Bryce Lawrence.
“Being involved in a high performance environment has really accelerated her development and this appointment is a great achievement. We hope it inspires other female referees, or people thinking about taking up refereeing to see what you can achieve.
“We have seen unprecedented growth and interest in the women’s game and to celebrate achievements like this in refereeing shows the pathways that are on offer.
“We hope that other players see Rebecca and are inspired to stay involved in the game beyond their playing days.
“At the end of the day, we are committed to having New Zealanders represented among the best match officials in the world controlling elite games. Rebecca’s appointment confirms that she is among the best and we congratulate her on this appointment and the effort she has shown in getting here,” said Lawrence.
Mahoney played 16 matches for the Black Ferns before turning her attention to refereeing. Since 2015 Mahoney has officiated sevens at the Commonwealth Games and Rugby World Cup Sevens, taken charge of one Test match and two Farah Palmer Cup finals.
Saturday’s appointment is the first of three Heartland Championship matches that Mahoney is set to control this season.