The match officials for the much-anticipated opening day of
Women's Rugby World Cup 2010 on Friday at Surrey Sports Park
have been announced, with England's Clare Daniels handed the
honour of refereeing the opening match.
Daniels, who will be officiating at her second Women's Rugby World Cup after refereeing in Canada four years ago, will take charge of the Pool C match on Pitch 2 between Canada and Scotland at 12:00 local time.
The English referee is one of 10 female referees included on the International Rugby Board panel of 14 officials for the tournament, and is delighted to have been appointed to referee the World Cup's opening fixture.
"From a referee's point of view it's a fantastic honour to blow the whistle on the opener of the Women's World Cup," said Daniels. "There will be plenty of focus but I'll be trying to approach it in the same way as any other international and hopefully deal with the pressures accordingly.
"To referee in a World Cup is the pinnacle of your career and obviously with the way the Women's Game has grown, women's officiating globally has also grown over the last five or six years as well. So it's a fantastic showcase for us as officials.
"Hopefully through the fantastic television coverage and by people coming to the Surrey Sports Park, and seeing women officiating, it'll encourage more to have a go themselves."
Javier Mancuso of Argentina will oversee the second match of the day, as Sevens world champions Australia launch their bid to become complete a unique World Cup double against Wales in their Pool A encounter at 14:00 on Pitch 1.
The Pool B opener between USA and Kazakhstan, which kicks off at 14:15 on Pitch 2, will be refereed by Canada's Sherry Trumbull, while Scotland's Andrew McMenemy will oversee New Zealand's first round Pool A fixture against South Africa at 16:15 on Pitch 1.
The Black Ferns are looking to retain their mantle as world champions, having won the last three Women's Rugby World Cup titles dating back to 1998, and McMenemy is looking forward to refereeing such a huge game on the opening day.
"To get appointed to any World Cup is huge and this is going to be a massive experience for me," said McMenemy. "I'm really looking forward to the challenges in the games ahead - it should be a really good three weeks,
"It's a huge game. Defending champions New Zealand will be out to prove that they are still the number one team in the world, but I'm sure the South Africans will be equally determined to try and get one over the Kiwi's and make a statement on the first day."
New Zealand's Nicky Inwood will take charge the Pool C tussle between Six Nations runners up France and Sweden, who will be featuring in their first World Cup since 1998. The match gets underway at 16:30 on Pitch 2.
The opening day's action is rounded off by host nation England, who begin their bid for World Cup glory against Six Nations rivals Ireland at 18:30 on Pitch 1 with Sarah Corrigan of Australia the referee.
"I'm really excited," said Corrigan, who took charge of the Women's Rugby World Cup 2006 semi final between England and Canada. "The game should be really good.
"The experience of 2006 will definitely stand me in good stead - I definitely think I've got a good base to work from.
"In 2006 the female officials proved that we could handle it at that level, and this is a really good opportunity to take the foundations we laid at that tournament forwards from here, and hopefully there'll be a female in the final!"
David Keane (Ireland) and Debbie Innes (England) will act as assistant referees for both Pool C matches on day one, with Kerstin Ljungdahl (Germany) and Barbara Guastini (Italy) running the line for the Pool B matches.
Joyce Henry (Canada) and Dana Teagarden (USA) will be the assistant referees for the Wales v Australia encounter, before Sébastien Minery (France) and Lee Wing Yi Gabriel (Hong Kong) fulfil the role for New Zealand's encounter with South Africa.
Bernd Gabbei, the tournament's Referee Manager, has also selected the officials for the second day of pool action on Tuesday, 24 August, with Henry refereeing the Wales v South Africa match on Pitch 2 at 12:00 local time.
Lee will then take charge of Canada v Sweden on the same pitch at 14:15, before Minery blows the whistle in the Pool B match between USA and Ireland at 16:30.
Over on Pitch 1, Keane will referee the France v Scotland match at 14:00 before Teagarden takes charge of the much anticipated New Zealand v Australia affair at 16:15. The final match of the day, between England and Kazakhstan at 18:30, will be refereed by Mancuso.