#27 Sophie Bartlett - Ruck

#27 Sophie Bartlett

#Inspire – celebrating female referee’s in rugby

Sophie has been a referee for just over a year but has wanted to ref for as long as she can remember.

Her dad, Christopher, is an RFU match official and is the main reason she got involved in the sport.

From a young age, she would watch him referee and grew to love rugby. Initially rugby was a hobby for Sophie, but now she hopes to make it into a profession.  

In collaboration with our partners at ACME Whistles, we met up with Sophie to chat about her passion for rugby, what motivates her and who most inspires her.

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

From a young age I have always been very sporty, always giving everything a go and being very eager to reach my best in every sport I take part in.

The sport that has always been present in my life is rugby – it’s something I can’t imagine ever being without. It plays a vital role in how I go about my daily life and how I imagine my future.

What was your first experience as a Match Official like?

At the age of 14 an adult entered the field of play and began arguing with me about the decision I had just made.

Overwhelmed, I left the pitch unsure what to do, however, with the support of the spectators I am proud to say that I re-entered the pitch and finished the match confidently.

Tell us about your most memorable officiating moment to date.

At the end of last season I had the amazing opportunity to attend the women’s premiership cup final as the 5th official, assisting Clare Daniels on the sideline, experiencing what it’s like to be a match official at a professional level.

Who inspired you to take up the whistle?

Whilst my dad inspired me to take up the whistle, Sara Cox continually inspires me to take refereeing as far as I can.

Ever since I watched her become the first female to referee a male premiership match demonstrated to me that I could do the same one day.

What motivates you to referee?

The main thing that motivates me is my love for this sport. Rugby has been with me all my life and refereeing enables me to embed myself in the heart of the game – to actively participate in its many dimensions, traditions and values.

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

As I have got into refereeing I have greatly appreciated and valued female refereeing role models and as I grow stronger in my abilities it would mean the world to me to be able to inspire others to participate in the thing I love to do the most.

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/