Alhambra Nievas
Nievas in 2016
Birth nameAlhambra Nievas González[1]
Date of birth (1983-08-09) 9 August 1983 (age 37)
Place of birthBeas de Granada, Spain
UniversityUniversity of Málaga
Rugby union career
Position(s) Back row
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
2002–12 CDU Málaga ()
Provincial / State sides
Years Team Apps (Points)
2004–12 Andalucía ()
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2006  Spain 3
National sevens team(s)
Years Team Comps
200x– Spain Sevens
Refereeing career
Years Competition Apps
2012–
2012–
2014–
2014–
2015–
2016–
2017–
División de Honor de Rugby
Copa del Rey de Rugby
World Rugby Women's Sevens Series
Women's Rugby World Cup
Women's Six Nations Championship
Women's Rugby sevens at the Olympics
Rugby Europe Conference

Alhambra Nievas González (born 9 August 1983) is a former Spain women's rugby union international and a current rugby union referee. Nievas refereed the women's final at the 2016 Summer Olympics. In 2016 she also served as an assistant referee at a men's international between Tonga and the United States. This saw her become the first woman to officiate in a men's rugby union international. In 2017 Nievas refereed a Rugby Europe Conference match between Finland and Norway. This saw her become the first woman to referee a men's rugby union international in Europe. In 2016 Nievas, along with Rasta Rasivhenge, was jointly named World Rugby Referee of the Year. She is the first women to win the award. She was previously nominated for the award in 2015.

Early life

Nievas was born in Beas de Granada[2] and was named after the Alhambra. As a child she spent time in Almería, where she played and tried out various sports including association football, tennis, basketball, volleyball, and karate.[3][4][1][5]

Playing career

Club and province

Nievas first began playing women's rugby union in 2002, aged 19, while attending the University of Málaga, where she was studying for a degree in telecommunications engineering. She subsequently played for the university's women's team for ten years and also served as club captain. She remains actively involved with the team, serving as a coordinator and trainer. In addition to playing for CDU Málaga, Nievas represented Andalucía at provincial level.[4][1][6][7][8]

Spain international

During the 2006 Women's Six Nations Championship, Nievas made three appearances for Spain. She made her debut on 11 February in a 3–86 defeat against England. She also played against France on 25 February and against Scotland on 18 March.[9] Nievas also played for the Spain women's national rugby sevens team.[1][6][8]

Refereeing career

Early years

Nievas refereeing a match in the División de Honor de Rugby
Nievas refereeing a match in the División de Honor de Rugby

Nievas first began refereeing in 2006, aged 26. While still an active player, she agreed to help out at a children's tournament. Then on weekends, when she did not have a match, she began regularly refereeing youth matches. Her talents were recognised by both the Federación Andaluza de Rugby and the Spanish Rugby Federation. In 2012, after being offered the chance to take charge of matches in senior men's competitions, Nievas chose to retire as a player and concentrate on refereeing. In 2012–13 she began refereeing in the División de Honor de Rugby and in 2014–15 she refereed the championship final. In 2014, after Paloma Loza and Itziar Díaz, she became the third woman to referee a Copa del Rey de Rugby final. She also refereed the 2017 final.[4][5][6][8][10][11]

Women's international competitions

6 August 2016: Nievas refereeing a match between Brazil and Great Britain at the 2016 Summer Olympics
6 August 2016: Nievas refereeing a match between Brazil and Great Britain at the 2016 Summer Olympics

On 15 February 2014, at the USA Women's Sevens, Nievas took charge of a match between Australia and China. This was her first match in charge on the World Rugby Women's Sevens Series circuit. On 30 November 2017 at the Dubai Women's Sevens she took charge of a match between Russia and England. This was her 100th World Rugby Women's Sevens Series match.[12] In 2014 Nievas made her international debut as a referee in the women's fifteen-a-side game when she took charge of a game between New Zealand and Samoa at Eden Park. She subsequently refereed games in the Women's Six Nations Championship and at both the 2014 and 2017 Women's Rugby World Cups. She also refereed the women's final at the 2016 Summer Olympics.[5][6][13][14]

Men's international competitions

Nievas served as referee at both the 2015 Africa Cup Sevens[6] and the 2016 Men's Rugby Sevens Final Olympic Qualification Tournament.[5] On 19 November 2016 Nievas served as an assistant referee at an international between Tonga and the United States at Anoeta Stadium. This made her the first woman to officiate in a men's rugby union international.[3][5][1] On 14 October 2017 Nievas refereed a Rugby Europe Conference match between Finland and Norway, becoming the first woman to referee a men's rugby union international in Europe.[13][14][15][16] Ireland's Joy Neville became the second two weeks later.[13]

Honours

Individual

References

  1. ^ a b c d e "Alhambra Nievas: Referee of the Year". scrumqueens.com. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  2. ^ "Alhambra Nievas The Granada 1983 Vintage Is Still Breaking Down Barriers". thesportsdragon.com. 21 September 2017. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  3. ^ a b c "Alhambra Nievas named best referee in world rugby". surinenglish.com. 17 January 2017. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  4. ^ a b c "Interview with the first woman to referee a men's rugby international in Europe". euroweeklynews.com. 2 November 2017. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Alhambra Nievas: "Lo mío con el rugby fue amor a primera vista"". Marca (in Spanish). Spain. 3 November 2016. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d e "A Lady of Spain come to Referee". sareferees.com. 30 September 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  7. ^ "CDU Málaga – Personal" (in Spanish). cduma.es. Archived from the original on 3 January 2018. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  8. ^ a b c "World Rugby's Referee of the Year 2016 Drop-Kicks Project PsyTool to the Next Level". psytoolsport.eu. Archived from the original on 3 January 2018. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  9. ^ "Alhambra Nievas: "Nadie va con el árbitro"" (in Spanish). jotdown.es. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  10. ^ "Federacion Andaluza De Rugby" (PDF) (in Spanish). ferugby.es. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  11. ^ "Referee By Royal Appointment". thesportsdragon.com. 11 May 2017. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  12. ^ "Alhambra Nievas A Century of Sevens". thesportsdragon.com. 27 November 2017. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  13. ^ a b c d "Female referees Alhambra Nievas and Joy Neville to make history by taking charge of Men's Internationals". The Daily Telegraph. 26 September 2017. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
  14. ^ a b "Alhambra Nievas: Female referee hopes to 'create a pathway' for other women". BBC. 20 October 2017. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  15. ^ "Meet Alhambra Nievas – the trailblazing female referee about to make history". The Daily Telegraph. 12 October 2017. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  16. ^ "Spanish referee Alhambra Nievas makes rugby history in Helsinki". The Daily Telegraph. 15 October 2017. Retrieved 29 December 2017.