World Rugby has confirmed that five Australians have been appointed as match officials for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Australia boasts the highest representation of match officials within the 22-person team, following strong performances at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires and Sevens World Series.
Damon Murphy headlines the class of Aussie officials heading to Japan, as he makes his return to the competition’s professional stage.
Murphy previously represented the Australian Sevens side at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games and the Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2009. Murphy also took charge of the Men’s Gold Medal final at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Damon Murphy in action for Australia at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games. (CGA Archive)
Murphy, Jordan Way, Madeline Putz and Tyler Miller are set to take the field in their first Olympic Games while selectors have again selected Amy Perrett, who will serve at her second Games after taking control of the Bronze Medal Final at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Sevens World Series regulars Jordan Way and Damon Murphy will control the Men’s matches, scheduled to be played from July 26th at Tokyo Stadium before Perrett, Putz and Miller will take charge of the highly anticipated Women’s competition which will kick off on July 29th.
While Putz will again represent her country, having played four international Test matches for the Wallaroos, two of which in the 2014 Rugby World Cup.
Amy Perrett and England’s Sara Cox are the only two officials who have previously been selected for Olympic Games. Perrett became the first-ever female to take charge of a Super Rugby match when she held the whistle for the Brumbies clash with the Western Force in August last year.
Rugby Australia’s National Referee Manager, Scott Young, said: “It’s fantastic to have such a large group of officials heading to Tokyo.
“With the Games being postponed last year, it has allowed our team to take additional time to prepare to ensure the best possible performances come July.
“While we’d love to see the Australian teams in the Gold Medal finals, they can’t then be officiated by Australians. However, we know the team is up for the challenge.”
World Rugby High-Performance Sevens Referee Manager Paddy O’Brien said: “We have selected a match officials squad that includes a good mix of experience and youth, with selection based on merit following a thorough evaluation of performances and I thank all those involved in the process.
“Just like the players, coaches and teams, the match officials are preparing and training hard in order to arrive in Tokyo in peak physical and mental condition to perform to the very best of their abilities for what will be a career highlight for all involved.
“We are proud of the leading position that rugby enjoys in the mutual respect and values demonstrated between match officials and players.
“The Olympic Games present an excellent opportunity to showcase the very best of rugby on the greatest sporting stage on the planet and I am have every confidence that the individuals announced will represent themselves and the sport with great integrity, skill and pride in Tokyo.”