#44 Catherine Anthony - Ruck

#44 Catherine Anthony

#inspire – celebrating female referees in rugby

Catherine Anthony has been officiating for 6 months.

She started playing rugby at the age of 40 and decided to take up the whistle as a way to stay involved in the game she loves long after she retires.

In collaboration with our partners at ACME Whistles, we met up with Catherine to chat about her route into refereeing, what motivates her and why female representation in rugby is so important.

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

I am a late arrival to rugby, taking up the game at 40 and I love it. The acceptance, relationships with teammates, enjoyment and confidence being involved in the game have developed with me and the experience is unlike any other.

My own experience is a significant influence in my desire to remain involved in the game as long as possible, through officiating when I retire from playing, to ensure there are opportunities for others to get involved in the most fantastic sport, building confidence and lifelong relationships whilst having fun through sport.

What was your first experience as a Match Official like?

My first game was supposed to be a men’s 3rd/Vets team friendly – it was anything but friendly with lots of complaining and poor discipline. An off the ball, dangerous tackle led to a red card… I was the talk of the society opening season meeting after issuing the first card of the season in a pre season friendly!

Tell us about your most memorable officiating moment to date.

Whilst my red card incident was memorable, a couple of weeks later I stepped out to officiate another men’s game with only 2 friends in support. I am so proud of getting through the whole 80 minutes without crying and received some fabulous feedback from both teams.

Who inspired you to take up the whistle?

My youngest brother has been a referee for more than 10 years – his calm, confident, knowledgeable approach to officiating in the most challenging of games at times has been a huge driver for me to follow in his footsteps and make our dad proud.

What motivates you to referee?

I am a huge advocate for the positive emotional, physical and mental benefits of playing rugby. It has helped me cope in some very difficult times. By taking up the whistle I know I am providing more opportunities for people to be involved in and play the sport which has given me so many positives.

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 am regularly told that at 5ft and of slim build that I “can’t be a rugby player”.

I know this is not true – rugby is a sport which has a place for everyone to shine. By continuing to represent women, whether through playing or officiating rugby, being visible to women and girls doing this, I am able to show that stereotypes are not accurate and anyone can be who and what they want to be.

My small frame, loud voice or both can inspire my daughter and others to pursue their rugby dreams.

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/