A year of injury hasn’t curtailed the rise of referee Amy Perrett, named as an official for two Women’s Six Nations matches.
Perrett has been named as head referee for France vs England and Ireland vs Italy in the tournament, two of the blockbuster games.
World Rugby showed their faith in Perrett, who missed most of 2015 with injury before returning in the recent Dubai Sevens.
She has experience in big matches, though, having officiated the last Women’s World Cup final.
Perrett said she was determined to repay that faith in the Six Nations.
“It definitely boosts my confidence the fact they do trust me after having a year off,” she said.
“It makes me want to work extra hard so I don’t disappoint anyone.”
Already considered one of the premier rugby referees in the world, Perrett has set her eyes on the Olympics and next year’s Women’s World Cup as her next steps.
Perrett will be one of two Australian referees featuring in the 2016 Six Nations, with Angus Gardner refereeing the men’s tournament.
It will be the second time Australia has had a female and male officiating the tournament and Perrett said it was a great reward for a new structured pathway.
“We hadn’t had a referee manager for a very long time it’s made huge difference,” she said.
“With Steve Walsh retiring, guys like Angus and a lot of the Super Rugby guys have really stepped up and taken that opportunity.
“We’re all pushing each other really hard to become the best referees we can be.”
Perrett hopes her journey can help encourage more juniors into refereeing, saying organisations should be more open about the benefits of picking up the whistle.
“The key is just being really open about what refereeing is - a lot of people worry about getting yelled at on the field,” she said.
“It’s good to talk about how far you can get or the opportunities and showing people there is a pathway.
“If you go far, you get looked after pretty well.”
“It’s great to give back to the game and when you're a referee you’re still on the field, rather than a coach pulling your hair out on the bench.”