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Award is icing on the cake for lifetime in rugby

What Rebecca ‘Becs’ Mahoney packed into 20 years of elite sport, many people wouldn’t fit in two lifetimes.

Mahoney, the guest speaker at Thursday night’s Wairarapa Times-Age Awards, was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award for two decades of elite involvement in playing and refereeing rugby.

Her achievements include winning the Rugby World Cup twice in 2006 and 2010, followed by a groundbreaking refereeing career.

The latter included seven international test matches, the Sevens World Cup, and the 2018 Commonwealth Games, as well as becoming the first woman to control a Heartland match and a Ranfurly Shield challenge.

Her personal highlight was the Mitre 10 Cup game between Hawke’s Bay and Southland in Napier, which she said, “was the accumulation of all that hard work paying off to finally get that one game.”

Mahoney says she was gobsmacked to be presented with the award.

“It’s just the icing on the cake, and it’s everybody else who has built the story for me and helped me get to where I got to,” Mahoney said.

“I’m not even 40 yet. It’s huge; it’s really humbling, and I’m not lost for words, but I’m lost for words. I’m really grateful.”

The early going wasn’t easy for Mahoney, who drove over 1100km a week between Alfredton and Johnsonville three times a week for training and club games.

She quickly progressed to NPC level and into the Black Ferns, and then on her retirement, she picked up the whistle – coming under the wing of Wai-Bush refereeing guru Harry Quinn – and the rest is history.

“You want people who want to make you strive and make you want to achieve and get to the heights that you don’t think that you achieve yourself, and that’s what the likes of the Harrys and your family and the people close to you can do. “

A self-professed sports nut, even retirement from the top level cannot keep Mahoney from the sports field. She plays football three times a week, referees the odd college or women’s rugby game, coaches the Bush women’s rugby team, and follows her two children’s sporting endeavours.


Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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