Dual role for Selica Winiata; player and Rugby Sevens Referee

Dual role for Selica Winiata; player and Rugby Sevens Referee
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A dual role for rugby players can involve mentoring younger team members, driving a culture of inclusion or studying the opposition’s set plays yet, for Black Ferns rugby player Selica Winiata, her role now includes being a rugby referee.

After deciding to put something back into the sport she enjoyed success in, the 2016 Olympics rugby sevens representative has devoted the last two years to become a recognized sevens referee. Winiata said in a New Zealand Rugby media release, of her love of rugby and desire to be involved in the game led her to become a referee.

“Refereeing is such a great way to be involved in the game and in the middle of the action. In the Police you need to make hard calls that aren’t popular so I’m not phased by that aspect.”

The 40 test fullback is one of a few Black Ferns who are contracted with New Zealand Rugby (NZR), as well as being an active Policewoman in Manawatu. Since 2008, she has played in both codes, and now with her knowledge of the game and enthusiasm to display all the qualities of a balanced adjudicator of the game, she has been appointed to the referee panel by World Rugby.

After a promising international debut at the Oceania Sevens tournament in Fiji last week, Winiata has been appointed for two rounds of the HSBC Sevens Series. She will officiate at the Dubai and Cape Town tournaments, in a rapid rise that is a credit to the player and to the unique view that leading players hold.

Dual role for Selica Winiata; player and Rugby Sevens Referee

NZR National Referee Manager Bryce Lawrence said Winiata’s appointment highlighted the growth and opportunities in the women’s game. “Selica has earned this appointment and we’ve been impressed with how much she’s grown as a referee in such a short period of time. We’re committed to developing our female referees and giving them more opportunities and Selica’s really taken hers.

“It’s an exciting time to be involved in the women’s game as there’s so much growth. To have Selica showing women and girls what’s possible in rugby is brilliant.”

She has also refereed matches at the Sir Gordon Tietjens Sevens Tournament for high schools this year, has taught rugby skills to girls at high schools and Lawrence is not alone in admiring the individual’s commitment to contributing in more ways than only as a participant.

The appointment to the HSBC World Series is a unique achievement that sees Winiata refereeing and playing rugby at the highest level. “Playing fifteens and refereeing on the series was a big goal of mine and it’s great to have achieved that”, said Winiata.

NZ Rugby Awards
Fans Try of the Year winner Selica Winiata for her try with the Black Ferns against England during the 2013 Steinlager Rugby Awards at SkyCity Convention Centre on December 5, 2013 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

“Now the hard work starts and I’m really looking forward to the tournaments, putting good performances together and continuing to develop. It’s been a great challenge so far.”

The former Black Ferns Sevens player (see main photo) had originally planned on switching her beloved Manawatu playing shirt for a referee jersey at this year’s TECT National Sevens tournament in Tauranga. That opportunity has now been realized but on a global stage.

If the player’s ability to compete at the highest level is an indication of her determination, then Selica Winiata will invest everything into being the very best.

 

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