#13 Chrissy Clark - Ruck

#13 Chrissy Clark

#inspire – celebrating female referee’s in rugby

Chrissy Clark has been a rugby union referee for a year.

She grew up loving rugby thanks to her dad’s passion for the game which bonded them and encouraged her to start playing before, more recently, moving into refereeing.

Her husband, Jonny, is her biggest supporter, driving her to fixtures and keeping her energy levels up with game day snacks.

In collaboration with our partners at ACME Whistles, we met up with Chrissy to chat about her experiences as a referee, how rugby has helped boost her confidence and why she wants to encourage more women and girls to pick up the whistle.

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

I grew up loving rugby and watching games with my dad. It has always been something which connects us.

As an adult playing rugby provided me with a community and friendships like no other. It also gave me confidence in who I am and what I am capable of.

Moving into refereeing challenges me physically and mentally and game day is as exciting now as when I was a player! I can’t imagine a time when rugby wasn’t part of my life in some way.

What was your first experience as a Match Official like?

My first experience as a match official was as an assistant ref for one of our county’s level 6 games. My heart was racing so fast and I was sure I would drop my flag or trip over in front of the crowd! Thankfully neither happened and the experience made me want to do it again!

Tell us about your most memorable officiating moment to date.

Halfway through one of my first games I accidentally put my red and yellow cards in the wrong pocket and nearly permanently removed someone for what should have been a team yellow – the player was as shocked as I was!

Who inspired you to take up the whistle?

I played in a game where the referee was brilliant. They managed the game superbly and really seemed to enjoy what they were doing. I then saw on the county social media that they were running the ERRA course and thought I’d like to experience what that ref got to do each week and find out why they enjoyed it so much, so I signed up.

What motivates you to referee?

On a personal level the drive to improve and learn each time I step onto the pitch is my biggest motivator. As part of a wider team the chance for players and supporters of all genders and ages to see a female match official facilitating a game will always be a driving factor for me.

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 would be immensely proud if my visibility as a match official allowed other women and girls to feel that a place within the match official community is open to them. To be in a position to be part of an event like Inspire just feels fantastic!

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/