#06 Amanda Arnold - Ruck

#06 Amanda Arnold

#inspire – celebrating female referee’s in rugby

Amanda Arnold took up the whistle earlier this year and is coming up to her second season.

After being a spectator for many years, Amanda started playing rugby when she was 41 and, five years later, became a referee.

In collaboration with our partners at ACME Whistles, we met up with Alison to chat about how she got into rugby, what motivates her and her passion for helping others to enjoy the game.

Can you tell us a little about your relationship with rugby?

School put me off team sports but I’ve been a keen rugby spectator all of my life. I went to 2015 World Cup games and joked that my only option to get on the pitch was as a referee, not realising that I’d start playing two years later at 41 and pick up the whistle 5 years later!

I still enjoy being a utility front row and helping matches get played by refereeing, After Covid it’s good to be able to get out to play again and help other people enjoy rugby.

What was your first experience as a Match Official like?

I did my ERRA course early 2021 and refereed my first match in September. It was a Ladies game at a local club, I was really nervous but got prepared, followed what I learnt, had useful feedback from the teams and a spectator who refereed.

Tell us about your most memorable officiating moment to date.

ALF10s tournament this summer was my first time being with other referees and qualified assistant refs. I enjoyed refereeing and learning from more experienced refs while AR’ing.

There was some great rugby on a sunny day for a worthy cause!

Who inspired you to take up the whistle?

My inspiration was Claire Antcliffe at RFU who ran “See it, Be it, Ref it” webinars in 2020. Her enthusiasm and innovative approach sowed the seed that it was possible and she has provided lots of support since.

RFU did a new format ERRA course starting online in Jan 2021, then face-to-face sessions to finish. It seemed like a great opportunity to get qualified while we still had playing restrictions and maximise pitch time when matches restarted.

What motivates you to referee?

I love rugby so it’s great being able to help matches get played and share information about the sport. I like the challenge of using my brain while getting fresh air and staying fit.

In a few words, please tell us what it means to you to be a positive role model and INSPIRE other women and girls to get in to refereeing

I’m a geeky engineer who almost never played rugby or refereed. I don’t want anyone else to miss the chance of getting on the pitch. The rugby community is great and it’s important to maintain and grow the numbers participating in all roles to stay physically and mentally fit in a team sport.

Refereeing provides the opportunity to get involved in wider rugby, not just playing so you meet even more people through rugby clubs or referee societies. Personally, it’s a great challenge to stay up to date and develop.

If you’re feeling inspired to take up the whistle, find out more about becoming a Match Official here: keepyourbootson.co.uk/referee-toolkit/supporting-match-officials-female/