Sport

Sara Cox first woman to referee at Premiership Rugby Cup

Wasps opponents this weekend Northampton Saints playing Worcester at Franklin's Gardens Image source: flickr, David Jones

By Rosie Foley

History is being made this weekend as Cox will become the first female to referee a Premiership match between the two English teams, Northampton v Wasps on Sunday, at the Ricoh.

The Exeter-based official, is said that she gave up her own playing career due to injury. However, she has still reached high in the rugby world. Cox will experience her first men’s international game this autumn when she works on the sidelines of Hong Kong v Germany and Kenya v Germany. Cox will also take charge of France Women v New Zealand who play on the 9th of November.

Cox was the first centrally contracted female referee in the Rugby Football Union in March 2016, becoming the world’s first professional female rugby referee. After taking charge of the Cornish Pirates v Doncaster Knights Championship clash in March, she has been given the opportunity to officiate a match between two top English teams.

Female officials are on the up, with former Ireland international Joy Neville became the first female referee to oversee a top-level men’s match in the UK, when she took charge of Ulster vs Southern Kings in the Pro14 in February.

The RFU website have said that this weekend is a ‘breakthrough’ for women in rugby as Cox isn’t the only female official working this weekend. Tonight Clare Daniels is an assistant referee at the derby between Bristol Bears and Gloucester Rugby at Ashton Gate. Also Danae Zamboulis will be the citing officer as Leicester Tigers take on Worcester Warriors game on Saturday. Finally with Claire Hodnett being the TMO in the live TV game between Harlequins and Newcastle Falcons at the Stoop.

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