**BLOG BY @_emw29 **
Great news this week as four female officials take roles in the Premiership Rugby Cup this weekend.
Claire Hodnett is TMO for Harlequins v Newcastle Falcons; Claire Daniels is assistant referee for Bristol Bears v Gloucester Rugby; Danae Zamboulis is citing officer for Leicester Tigers v Worcester Warriors; and most excitingly Sara Cox will referee Wasps v Northampton Saints, becoming the first female to referee a premiership rugby cup match.
As a referee myself I find this so inspiring to see that someone has done what I want to do, really making what I do now feel worth it. Seeing Sara Cox referee an elite men's game is historic and I hope it will really help get more women and girls into refereeing.
A little insight into my refereeing journey. I completed my level 1 refereeing course when I was 14 and began refereeing girls u13s matches at my club and discovered just how much I loved refereeing and immediately went on to do my Level 2 qnd looked into joining my local Referee's society.
Unfortunately, I was too young to join at that time, so I continued to pick up matches where I could at my club and school, doing girls u15s and boys u14s. At the age of 16, I was able to join the referees society and started getting a steady stream of youth matches, really helping me to improve and want to work hard to get to the top, which brings me to today. Refereeing has been a very enjoyable hobby, but being a female referee has come with its setbacks, mostly due to ignorance of the fact that women and girls referee too! Hopefully, Sara Cox running the game on Sunday will help change that.
If any ladies reading this feel inspired to take the challenge, take the whistle. Contact your local Match Official Development officer ( listed below) to find out how you can get involved. Think in a few years that could be you in Sara Cox's place.
South West: ClaireDaniels@rfu.com
South East: AndrewSmall@rfu.com
East Mids: JohnWiddowson@rfu.com
West Mids: ClaireAntcliffe@rfu.com
**BLOG BY @_emw29 **