IRB Sevens 2009/10 match officials
The match officials have been announced for the 2009/10 IRB Sevens World Series.
In recent years, the likes of Craig Joubert, Marius Joncker, Wayne Barnes and Nigel Owens have all graduated from the Sevens game to referee at the elite test match level and the latest crop of Sevens referees have been hand-picked to accommodate the specialist nature of the sport.
Australia's Andrew Lees, Scot Andrew McMenemy, Fijian James Bolabiu and Taizo Hirabayashi from Japan offer an experienced core of Sevens officials, while new appointments are included from nine different countries, including Italy, Canada, Portugal and Singapore.
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"The game of Sevens needs our best Sevens referees, and that means our best athletes," said IRB Referee Manager Paddy O'Brien.
"Sevens is a very fast game and these appointments reflect that.
"We've selected up-and-coming referees of huge potential and where they might lack in experience at this stage in their careers, they make up for it in fitness, speed and athleticism, which mirrors the players on a Sevens pitch.
"It's exciting because, like for those players, Sevens offers referees with international aspirations another career path."
The referees on the World Series also benefit from the expert guidance and one-on-one tuition of full-time Sevens Referee Manager, Keith Lawrence.