#24 Candace Barritt - Ruck

#24 Candace Barritt

#Inspire – celebrating female referee’s in rugby

Candace Barritt has been officiating for just under a year.

Half Bermudian and half Canadian, Candace’s life revolves around rugby and she’s happiest when out on the pitch putting her body to the test.

In collaboration with our partners at ACME Whistles, we met up with Candace to chat about why she loves rugby, what motivates her and who inspired her to take up the whistle.

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

I’m half Bermudian and half Canadian whose life revolves around rugby.

I learnt rugby in high school in Canada and fell in love with the sport as it was inclusive for all abilities, ages and sizes.

Being able to put your body on the line and legally hit people to the ground (flanker mindset) is great!

It’s still the only time when I feel most happy and zen when I’m out on the pitch playing or passing a ball around with players.

What was your first experience as a Match Official like?

It was Teddington 2 vs Chipstead 2s in the final of the league. Teddington was 1st in the league and Chipstead was 2nd, so I knew it would be tough match especially for my first time.

The match overall went OK, but I definitely should have re-read the kicking laws beforehand.

Teddington was winning by a few tries until a fight broke out in the last 2 minutes. With the flighting done, a little captain talk and calming down on the sidealines. The last few minutes of the game was played then I blew the whistle to signal final time.

Afterwards, I was waiting in the pub with my free pint and I got asked if I enjoyed the game and the answer was ‘yes’. So, every opportunity I get, if I’m not playing, I’ll be taking up the whistle.

Tell us about your most memorable officiating moment to date.

It would be at Lit 7s tournament in London. There were 13 or 14 refs and I was the only female one. It was a veryyyy hot day and was able to get so many game times in!

The most memorable moment was being able to AR the Women’s Social and Elite final! I was taped with a mic and it was live streamed. I really enjoyed the team refereeing.

Who inspired you to take up the whistle?

I started following Sara Cox on Instagram and thought wow you can actually do this as full time thing!

As a player, I’ve had bad concussions in the past. At one particular match at Wimbledon (Nov 2021) I had a bad head-to-head knock which led to me having to walk off the field, and then receiving a yellow card from the ref as the girl I hit still lay there, while I was being assessed.

I thought then that if I can no longer play, I’ll officiate. 

What motivates you to referee?

The constant learning and observing. I also love the game of rugby, and those games can’t happen without referees. So, we are pretty important people!

I also really like to get to know more things technically about the rugby game and it honestly gives me more appreciation for the sport.

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

Enjoyment for the game and making the sport a more diverse place. I also think it helps to be open to developing yourself mentally and physically.

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/