Refereeing road to Rio 2016

USA Rugby’s Leah Berard is back on the Sevens road working towards Rio 2016. She completed the Hong Kong IRB Women’s Sevens World Series qualifier this past weekend and has been appointed to all six WSWS events including Dubai, Sao Paolo, and Atlanta.

"It's an exciting time to be involved in rugby, and the opportunity to represent the U.S.A. at the Olympics is becoming more real. It's now an attainable goal versus a lofty dream," said Berard.

“It takes an enormous amount of dedication and time to operate at the international level of refereeing and Leah has been able to maintain that consistently at the sevens level,” USA Rugby High Performance Referee Manager Richard Every said. “It is a great achievement to referee at the WSWS and wonderful to see the support of the IRB in women’s rugby and refereeing. We are continually building women’s rugby in the U.S.A. and our women’s refereeing benefits greatly from the high quality of organization and standard of the game in the USA Rugby Women’s Premier League. In addition to that, our men and women referees are part of one National Panel and expectations and opportunities are equal in both the men’s and women’s game.”

Leah has been a member of the IRB Women’s Sevens Panel since the end of 2012 and a year later she was also appointed to the IRB Women’s Fifteens Panel, refereeing at the IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 in Paris, France. Berard’s international sevens career started in December 2011 as Assistant Referee at the IRB HSBC Sevens World Series in South Africa. This secured her an appointment to the IRB Women’s Sevens Challenge in Hong Kong in March 2012, where she was appointed to the Final in her first international women’s tournament. Berard has been a top performer on the WSWS that culminated in her refereeing the IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens Final June 30 at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, where New Zealand beat Canada, 29-12.