Australian female officials to make history this weekend

by staff

Two females referees will be breaking new ground this weekend when they officiate Premier and First Grade games in Brisbane and Sydney.

In this weekend’s match between Norths and Bond University at Hugh Courtney Oval, history will be made as Rachel Horton becomes the first-ever female referee to officiate a Premier Rugby match in Queensland.

Horton, who began her refereeing career on the Gold Coast in 2009, is looking forward to the opportunity.

“It’s really exciting, I wasn’t expecting to be appointed to a premier grade match this year but I’m excited to break new ground for female referees,” Horton said.

Before her career as a referee, Horton began her Rugby journey playing sevens at university in the United Kingdom, before joining a club to play 15s as a lock and number 8. She also played for the British Army Royal Logistics Corps and for a club team in Canada.

“After being involved in the sport as a player, I thought I’d give refereeing a go,” Horton said.

“I’ve refereed games at the National Women’s Sevens Championships, I’ve officiated challenging men’s games and I’m hoping in the future to travel overseas and build on the opportunities I’ve already had.”

Horton also became the first female referee to officiate a Gold Coast 1st Grade match.

Aside from refereeing, Horton is a Senior Physics and Chemistry teacher at Anglican Church Grammar School and has previously worked as a microbiologist and immunologist. She also has a PhD in microbiology.

Horton hopes to inspire women to challenge themselves and enter into the world of refereeing in Rugby.

“I hope to set an example for younger and newer female referees, I want to show them that they can develop at the same rate and level as their male colleagues,” she said.

Sydney-based Amy Perrett, meanwhile, will today (Saturday) take charge of a Premiership match for the first time. Perrett (24) will make history when she takes charge of the Magners Shute Shield Round 17 match between Sydney University and Gordon.

Just shy of 25 years of age, Perrett started refereeing in 2003 with the Eastwood Refereeing Association, now known as Sydney West Referees. This weekend will add to an already impressive list of accomplishments, which includes being selected for the ARU’s Referee School scholarship in 2005 and again in 2007, as well as officiating the final of the women’s World Series 7s in Dubai 2012 and again in Moscow 2013. As part of the IRB’s Talent Optimisation Program, Amy was one of a select group of top officials from across the world chosen to attend a week-long camp in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Should Amy go on to the next level in her refereeing career, she would become the first female official to take control of a Super Rugby match. Although female referees have officiated men’s internationals such as the Asian Five Nations and the Under 19 World Championships, no female has ever taken control of a Tier 1 men’s international or a Super Rugby fixture.

Growing up as a dedicated rugby enthusiast, Amy represented the Epping Rams Under 7s before going on to make the Eastwood Under 11s representative side, where she played alongside Waratah and Wallaby flyhalf Bernard Foley.

Amy attended Hunters Hill High School up until 2005, then finished her education at Cheltenham Girls High in 2007. During this time she was selected for the women’s Sydney North representative side as well as the women’s CHS side. Amy finished her playing career competing for the Parramatta Two Blues.