#17 Meg Mason - Ruck

#17 Meg Mason

#Inspire – celebrating female referee’s in rugby

Meg Mason has been officiating matches for just over a year.

She started playing rugby aged 16 and fell in love with the community aspect of the sport, both on and off the pitch.

In collaboration with our partners at ACME Whistles, we met up with Meg to chat about giving back to the sport she loves through refereeing, how she stays motivated and why she is so passionate about rugby.

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

I started playing rugby at the age of 16, after it was recommended to me by a teacher at school, and immediately loved it. The feeling of family and unity both on and off the pitch has stayed with me throughout the years, playing at university and then following a short break back to club rugby.

I’m reaching the end of my playing ‘career’ now so want to stay involved in the game and several people had suggested refereeing to me. It has always interested me as I’ve seen throughout the years that the games can only go ahead if there are people willing to referee them.

This is my way of giving back and staying involved.

What was your first experience as a Match Official like?

It was a 7s tournament soon after I qualified, and the society had explained they were very short on referees so asked if I could help out.

The society explained I would have the support of lots of other referees there and it was a great place to start. I was nervous but the thought of the games only being 14 mins long helped me through and I absolutely loved it.

As we were a bit short on referees, I ended up having 1 game on then 1 game off, all day and it was a great way to start me off on my refereeing journey.

Tell us about your most memorable officiating moment to date.

My most memorable moment to-date was my first senior men’s game that I refereed.

It was my 5th game to referee but I was unsure how I would be received – if I would be fit enough to keep up with play, if there would be more technical aspects around the laws that would challenge me within the game, if the bigger crowd would affect me etc.

It turned out to be my most enjoyable game. The players were fully respectful as were the crowd and I received some good feedback afterwards.

Who inspired you to take up the whistle?

I always knew I wanted to stay involved in rugby in some way when I stop playing and a few people had suggested I should try refereeing. My knowledge of the laws was good, and I’d had a fair bit of interaction with other referees on the pitch as captain at my club. I started by attending an ‘introduction to refereeing’ course and from there I was hooked.

What motivates you to referee?

I enjoy the challenge that it sets me in terms of being in a comfortable environment (the rugby pitch) but in a completely different role.

I enjoy being able to facilitate games so others can play, and I enjoy the fact that I’m learning new skills and that learning and development will never stop.

I can always adapt and improve so it will continue to challenge me as I gain more experience.

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

If by sharing my journey and experiences with other women and girls helps them to see that it is a positive experience and that it is something they can do and achieve, then I would feel like I have helped in some way to grow the sport I love.

I have been involved in the sport most of my life, and to get others involved in areas that they may not have considered as an option before or keeping them involved in the game after playing will make me feel like I have given something back.

If just one woman or girl picks up the whistle because of me, then I will feel incredibly proud.

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/