h 00099654 v2

Taranaki trailblazer Chloe Sampson makes NPC Assistant Referee debut

Promising Taranaki referee Chloe Sampson made history as the first female in her region to debut as an Assistant Referee in the Bunnings Warehouse NPC competition on Saturday, August 26.

The 20-year-old was appointed by her local Referees Association to assist during the Taranaki v Hawke’s Bay NPC match held at Yarrow Stadium.

She was joined by fellow Taranaki referee Cam Stone, both of whom were led by main referee Stu Curran (Manawatū). Former HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series referee Richard Kelly is her current refereeing coach and was also present as assigned TMO.

“My Association said to me to keep my Saturday free but I had no idea what that meant. To receive the appointment was pretty surreal, I definitely wasn’t expecting it at all and I’m really fortunate to have a union who always back me,” Sampson said.

“It was quite nervewracking before the game but I tried not to overthink it and let it get to my head. Having the support of Cam, Stu and Richard on the day kept me calm. Richard has been a big help towards how far I’ve come, I’ve learned so much from him.

“Overall it was a cool experience being out in the field as a young, female referee.”

Richard Kelly said he was impressed by her performance at NPC level and refereeing development.

“She has good self-awareness and continues to step up at every occasion. I’m proud of how she’s applied herself this year and as a consequence she’s seen significant progress. I know her exposure at this level will make her even more determined to succeed and she’s not looking out of place on the big stage that’s for sure,” Kelly said.

Earlier this year Sampson was named a recepient of the NZR women’s rugby referee scholarship aimed to encourage current and former female rugby players to take up refereeing. The two-year scholarship programme is supported by the New Zealand Rugby Players Association and Sport New Zealand.

As part of the programme the scholarship referees receive one-on-one coaching to help improve strength and conditioning, mental skills and nutrition support as well as renumeration.

“When the opportunity was posted online by NZR, I decided to give it a go by submitting my application and ended up being successful which was awesome. Since then it’s given me many lessons, and I’m surrounded by people like Maggie Cogger-Orr who I look up to,” Sampson said.

Cogger-Orr, NZR Women’s Referee Development Manager, said Sampson is a great example of someone who has grabbed the scholarship opportunity with both hands.

“Watching her from the sideline make her NPC debut was a really proud moment for me. Her performance was an absolute credit to her own efforts, and she represented her Taranaki Rugby Referees Association really well. It’s great to see them give her these opportunities and I look forward to seeing how she continues to grow,” Cogger-Orr said.

Cogger-Orr has started Rugby 101 sessions throughout the country to provide women with an opportunity to develop as coaches, players and become a qualified Associate Referee.

For more information and to register visit www.nzrugby.co.nz/rugby101