Eri Kamimura created history by becoming the first Asian Match Official to officiate in a Rugby Africa – Asia Rugby exchange programme on 23rd June 2022. She was selected by Asia Rugby to officiate at the Africa Women’s Cup match between South Africa and Namibia. Not only was she the first, but she was also the first female official to do so.
Eri is 32 years old and has been refereeing with the JRFU in Japan for five years. She is also a trained pilot, associated with a Japanese airline. She is current
ranked number one in Japan and had the honour of refereeing the Japan Women’s National Tournament final this year.
In the final, despite it being a one-sided match, she performed admirably and received a glowing report from the SARU performance reviewer. She did so well that South Africa Rugby Union invited her back later this year to officiate at another tournament.
Speaking on behalf of Rugby Africa and South Africa Rugby Union, Eugene de Villiers, Operational & Administration Manager, commented, “It was a great pleasure to host Eri Kamimura on behalf of Rugby Africa. A great ambassador and surely someone you can invest in for the near future. She did Japan and Asia Rugby proud.”
In April Asia Rugby and Rugby Africa held their first collaboration meeting virtually, chaired by both Presidents Qais Al Dhalai and Khaled Babbou, discussing topics including the exchange of referees programme and the potential Afro-Asia XV Women Competition. This discussion led to Eri Kamimura being appointed to this important fixture.
Asia Rugby Interim CEO, Mr Benjamin van Rooyen “I thank Eri Kamimura for making us proud with her stellar performance. This is a small step in what are ongoing talks and discussions, Asia Rugby is having with Rugby Africa to cooperate to further develop the Game in the two biggest continents in the world “
Van Rooyen also commented, “ I would like to thank my counterparts from Rugby Africa for giving Eri Kamimura this opportunity and look forward to working with them on other projects which are under discussion.”