Aboyne’s Hollie Davidson will finally make her refereeing debut in the 2019 Women’s Six Nations after missing out through injury last year.
Hollie, who started her rugby career at Aboyne Academy and progressed to the Scotland Under-20 team before becoming a referee after a shoulder injury, became the first Scottish female professional match official.
She was selected as an assistant referee in the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2017 in Ireland and took charge of games at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games and in San Francisco for the Rugby World Cup Sevens.
“I’m really excited to make my Six Nations debut after missing out due to injury last year,” Hollie told Scrum magazine. “The competition is growing year on year and so to be selected as one of the match officials is an honour.”
Hollie will be in charge of the Wales v Ireland match at Cardiff Arms Park on March 17. She will also be the assistant referee for England v France on February 10 at Castle Park.
“I did two seasons at Scotland Under-20s, then the summer I graduated to the senior set-up I dislocated my shoulder again the week before I was supposed to win my first cap,” Hollie recalled before heading for the World Cup Sevens last summer.
“I saw rugby sevens was an Olympic sport and decided to give refereeing a go. Injury probably pushed it faster than I’d anticipated, but it was definitely a way to stay involved.”
She took officiating exams, was noticed by Scottish Rugby Union and the rest is history.
“I’m 5ft 5in and it is probably funny to find someone so small in control of 30 grown men but that’s just my job,” she said. “Some of them are pretty big, 5ft 10in to 6ft 6in, but I have never felt intimidated. There is a lot of respect still for rugby referees.
“The more females we can get refereeing the more normal the role will become.
“It is a kind of a Catch-22, if you do your job well they might be shocked because you are a female doing it well. But hopefully the stigma will go and they will see only a good ref or a bad ref and not the gender.
“So far I have not had too many negative comments but there are always times when you could do better.
“I used to be a very resilient player, but refereeing is the next step up. It’s all on your shoulders. You need to know your limits.”