#inspire – celebrating female referees in rugby
Isla only embarked on her refereeing journey a month ago.
She started playing rugby at the age of 6 and is passionate about sport and fitness. Her dad, Andy, is a rugby coach and introduced her to the sport. They spend a lot of time together doing rugby-related activities, including watching the Red Roses.
In collaboration with our partners at ACME Whistles, we met up with Isla to chat about how she got into rugby, what it is like being a young female referee and what motivates her.
Can you tell us a little about your relationship with rugby?
I am an active person and love sports and fitness. I’ve played rugby since I was 6 when I played in a mixed team and now play rugby with an all-girls team.
We won the North regional cup last year at u15’s. I have started to watch more rugby on the TV to help me learn the rules in more detail.
I also play netball at school as well as attending cross fit sessions and gym sessions with my friends.
What was your first experience as a Match Official like?
I have only just completed my refereeing course. My current experience is limited to officiating in our training sessions, but it is a good place to learn as one of my coaches is a ref. I have my first referring opportunity in October officiating some U12 girls’ games.
Tell us about your most memorable officiating moment to date.
I remember playing a game when our ref checked which way the kickoff was going. He stood to the opposite side thinking he was safe only to be hit in the head by the ball when she changed her mind. I learnt a valuable lesson – stand behind the kicker.
Who inspired you to take up the whistle?
One of my coaches Gary Wigglesworth is also a society ref and he inspired me to go into reffing. Initially, I thought it would help me play better rugby, but I learnt I like reffing on its own merits.
What motivates you to referee?
I love the fact that one referee allows 14 to 30+ other people play the sport that I and they love.
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 love rugby. I have made some amazing friends playing rugby and it excites me that I could inspire new people to come and join our rugby family and enjoy this great sport.
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/