Amy Perrett referees Scotland vs France

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Sydney referee Amy Perrett represented Australia in the 2014 Women’s Six Nations Championships, refereeing Scotland v France at Lasswade, Scotland on Sunday 9 of March. 
She is now a regular on the Sevens circuit with appointments to Dubai, Atlanta, Sao Paulo, Guangzhou and Amsterdam all scheduled for the 2013-2014 IRB Women’s Sevens World Series.
Amy writes a report of her experience as follows:

“I’ve just come back from Edinburgh, where I refereed my first Test Match between Scotland and France in the Women’s 6 Nations, and what an experience! Being my first Test, I didn’t really know what to expect or what to do with myself leading up to the game. I tried to structure my days with training, reviewing and of course sightseeing. I was very lucky, that despite being cold, the sun was out and I was able to get out and about to explore. Edinburgh Castle is an amazing place, but I think my favourite thing I saw/did was walk up to Arthur’s Seat. It was a decent hike, but well worth it for anyone heading that way! 

I was fortunate enough that I was in the same hotel as NZ referee Chris Pollock who was doing the men’s fixture the day before my match. Lovely guy who gave me some great advice for my game, and allowed me to tag along to some dinners and meetings. In fact, we went to Murrayfield the day before the game and did a quick pitch inspection. That was a pretty cool experience walking out on such a famous field, with no one stopping you or asking what you were doing there. That night I went out with the referee’s team for the men’s fixture. Just a really nice relaxing evening for everyone to get together and unwind before the big match.

Going to a 6 Nations match is incredible, completely different experience to a Bledisloe or Rugby Championship game back home. The match started at 5pm and by 9am the city centre was full of French and Scottish fans (the Scots all in kilts), just soaking up the atmosphere and getting ready for the game. The Scottish Rugby Union was kind enough to let me into the Presidential suite for the pre-match function, where I finally tried some haggis (pretty good if you don’t think about what’s actually in it). They were playing the Ireland v Italy game on the big screen, which was BOD’s last home game and Nigel Owens 50th test match, and while I probably should of been watching that game, I got a little star struck when Princess Anne walked into the function. 

While she was in a cornered off section of the function room that the rest of us weren’t allowed in, I did manage to hide behind a plant and get a sneaky photo.  The match was pretty good and intense. Scotland really gave it to the French, and played some good running rugby but couldn’t finish it off, giving away an unfortunate penalty in front of the posts with about 2 mins remaining on the clock. I think the whole stadium was pretty disappointed because the Scots definitely deserved to win.

After all the excitement from that game and nervousness for my one the next day I found it pretty hard to sleep. I never been so nervous before a game, I couldn’t sit still during lunch. My ARs came and picked me up just after I ate and we got a little lost on the way to the ground, what should have been a 20min drive took 45 mins. You’d think this would make me more nervous but it actually calmed me down because as soon as I got there I had to head into the rain on a muddy pitch (in my number 1s) because I was scheduled to have my chat with the captains and check their boots. I didn’t have time to think about being nervous, I just had to get on with it. The game was played in a country town called Lasswade. The field had a little stadium, and it was very similar to Nepean Rugby Park. 

One thing I’ll never forget will be running out on the field behind the teams and lining up to sing the national anthems. Even though neither of them were mine, it was a very special moment and I’ve never felt so proud to be out on a rugby pitch. The game itself was very one sided, with France (eventual grand slam winners) winning 69-0. The pressure comes off a little when a game is that one sided, and I just had a ball running around the field, you couldn’t wipe the smile off my face! 

It was a truly wonderful experience and I don’t think it would have been the same without the amazing hospitality shown by the Scottish Rugby Union, and the support I received from everyone back home.”