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Rugby: How long before the All Blacks get a female ref?

Radio New Zealand logo Radio New Zealand 12/09/2018

Match referee Rebecca Mahoney during the Jock Hobbs Memorial Under 19 Rugby match between Heartland and Tasman on September 15, 2016 © Kerry Marshall/Getty Images Match referee Rebecca Mahoney during the Jock Hobbs Memorial Under 19 Rugby match between Heartland and Tasman on September 15, 2016 Former Black Fern Rebecca Mahoney says when the time comes for a female referee to officiate a Super Rugby match or international test it must be for the right reasons.

Mahoney will become the first New Zealand female referee to officiate a first class men's fixture between Thames Valley and King Country in the Heartland Championship on Saturday.

The 35-year-old Pahiatua local played 16 matches for New Zealand, winning two world cups.

Since trading the mouth guard for a whistle, Mahoney has officiated at the Commonwealth Games and Sevens World Cup.

The dual world cup winner expects it won't be long before a female refs at the international level, but hopes it won't be a big deal.

"The thing with rugby reffing is it needs to be the best person for the game, no one goes to sit at Westpac Stadium or Eden Park to watch the referee.

"Everybody goes to watch a really good game of rugby played. If it's a female (referee) good on them, but I'm not sure it needs to be stipulated as a female or male," she said.

Mahoney said her ultimate goal is to officiate women's test match rugby, between now and then she has three Heartland Championship matches to take care of this season.

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