Doleman reappointed to world series circuit

James Doleman.
James Doleman.
Otago referee James Doleman has been reappointed to the next season of the World Rugby Sevens Series circuit.

Doleman is one of 25 officials named for the new series which involves 15 core men's teams and 11 core women's teams.

The next year will be important not only for players but also officials as all eyes focus on the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

A new-look 13-person match official panel for the women's series includes five new appointments. They are Australian Tyler Miller, American Emily Hsieh, South African Ashleigh Murray, former Australia player Madeline Putz and New Zealander Lauren Jenner

All five are set to make their debuts on the world series this season after impressing in the women's qualifier tournament at the Hong Kong Sevens in April.

Fijian Tevita Rokovereni will transition from the men's series panel to join the women's series. Experienced campaigners Aimee Barrett-Theron, of South Africa, and and Rebecca Mahoney, a former Black Fern, are stepping down to concentrate on 15s officiating after stellar sevens officiating careers.

Former World Rugby referee of the year Alhambra Nievas, of Spain, and experienced referee Ben Crouse, of South Africa, have both announced their retirements from match officiating.

The men's series panel includes nine match officials who recently participated in the record-breaking World Cup Sevens in San Francisco.

World Rugby Match Officials Selection Committee chairman Anthony Buchanan said the World Cup Sevens in San Francisco demonstrated a high standard of officiating and the bar had been set high as we prepared for a new series season and look ahead to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

This season, the World Rugby Women's Sevens Series increases to six rounds. USA Rugby will host the new opening round in Glendale, Colorado, on October 20-21.

The men's series will again be contested over 10 rounds with the series opener set for Dubai at the end of November.

Doleman, the Otago Rugby Football Union referee education officer, will be joined on the panel by another New Zealander, Richard Kelly, from Taranaki.

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