Alhambra Nievas appointed new referee development chief at World Rugby

Alhambra Nievas.
Alhambra Nievas. / SUR
  • The Andalusian, once named best referee in the world, only recently hung up her whistle

Former referee Alhambra Nievas, who retired in July, has been named the new head of referee development by World Rugby - the sport's governing body.

Nievas will be in charge of the identification and progression of the best young referees in the world, both male and female, for rugby union and rugby sevens.

This new role makes the Spaniard one of the leading figures in the world at federated refereeing level.

"I've had some incredible experiences on a rugby field and now I am ready for a new challenge, working off the field, identifying new talents all across the world," she told World Rugby.

Nievas, 35, spent the best part of a decade as a rugby referee - a period in which she has achieved practically everything in the sport: she was the first woman to referee a full men's international game, the first to oversee an Olympic final and the first to officiate in a European game.

Named the best referee in the world in 2016, Nievas decided to hang up her whistle after taking part in the Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament in San Francisco in July.

Originally from Granada, Nievas started to play rugby in Malaga; it was at UMA that she first discovered rugby, age 19, and was part of the university team for more than a decade, earning a call-up to the national team for the Six Nations in 2006.