NZ Rugby referees panel named

Glen Jackson (Gallo Images)
Glen Jackson (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) has named its referees panel for the 2016 season.

According to the SA Rugby Referees website, the Kiwis have two new referees in the top panel of professional referees - Ben O'Keeffe, who is taking a year off from the medical profession and his top occupation as an eye doctor, and Jamie Nutbrown, once a Super Rugby player and now a full-time professional referee.

Also promoted to the professional ranks are Brendon Pickerill and Paul Williams.

Chris Pollock, who earlier announced his retirement as an international referee, will continue to be available for Super Rugby and New Zealand's domestic matches.

Three referees have been chosen to represent New Zealand on World Rugby's Sevens circuit - Jessica Beard, Richard Kelly and Nick Briant. With the Olympic Games in Brazil next year this becomes more relevant than ever. All three of them were in Dubai last weekend and Briant and Kelly will be in Cape Town this weekend.

In addition, Jess Beard will referee women's Six Nations matches and Glen Jackson will do the same for men.

The Referee's Scholarship, of which Nutbrown was a recipient in the past, next year goes to 27-year-old Hugh Reed who played flank for New Zealand in the Under-20 Championship and for Hawke's Bay in the ITM Cup.

New Zealand Rugby Referees Panel 2016:

Professional Referees (Super Rugby, domestic competitions)

Nick Briant

Mike Fraser

Glen Jackson

Ben O'Keeffe

Jamie Nutbrown

Brendon Pickerill

Paul Williams

Chris Pollock

National Squad (domestic competitions)

Kane McBride

Brett Johnson

Angus Mabey

Mike Lash

Cameron Stone

Liam Scanlon

James Doleman

Shane McDermott

World Rugby Sevens Series

Jessica Beard

Richard Kelly

Nick Briant

Referee Scholarship

Hugh Reed

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