After being identified as one of the best referees in the world, Lauren was selected to control three games in the Women’s tournament at Tokyo.
The tournament was played over three days in August, with 12 nations including New Zealand and Australia competing. It was only the second time that Rugby Sevens has been included at the Olympics – and Lauren is just the second female in New Zealand to referee an Olympic Rugby match.
To prepare for the Olympics, Lauren has worked extremely hard over the past five years, participating in fitness tests, training camps, and refereeing difficult games in high-pressure environments such as the HSBC World Sevens Series.
Lauren played rugby all through her junior years but, after suffering a back injury at age 16, she decided to hang up her playing boots and pick up the whistle and start refereeing.
Lauren also made her Super Rugby refereeing debut earlier this year, when she was Assistant Referee for the Auckland Blues v NSW Waratahs match at Eden Park in May. She was then appointed Assistant Referee the following week for the Blues v ACT Brumbies match.
The Olympics is an obvious career highlight, but there are plenty of other goals Lauren wants to tick off.
“The Commonwealth Games and the Sevens Rugby World Cup, which are both next year, as well as prepare for the 2024 Paris Olympics are all goals,” she said.
When Lauren is not refereeing New Zealand’s national sport, she is part of Downer New Zealand’s Marketing and Communication team.
But even when Lauren is refereeing, Downer is not far away.
Downer is the first organisation to partner with the Māori All Blacks as well as the Black Ferns and Black Ferns Sevens women’s teams. Our partnership with NZRU is founded on a core set of values held by both organisations, including: the celebration of diversity; inclusion of all cultures, people and genders; investment in high performance; and investment in the mental and physical wellbeing of our people.
The partnership is a cornerstone of Downer’s diversity and inclusion initiatives in New Zealand - and also includes sponsorship of the referees in New Zealand’s Mitre 10 Cup provincial men’s competition and Farah Palmer Cup women’s competition, which Lauren regularly officiates.