Scottish Rugby Fast Tracks Female Referees

Scottish Rugby - in partnership with the Scottish Women's Rugby Union (SWRU) - have launched a national recruitment initiative to encourage more women to take up refereeing and offer additional intense personal improvement training to those showing the greatest potential. Scottish Rugby will continue to offer recognised refereeing qualifications through the structured training programme while the new fast track scheme will provide additional support to those identified as being outstanding prospects - primarily ex-internationalists and Premier League players - through a targeted recruitment and nomination process.Scottish Rugby - in partnership with the Scottish Women's Rugby Union (SWRU) - have launched a national recruitment initiative to encourage more women to take up refereeing and offer additional intense personal improvement training to those showing the greatest potential.

Scottish Rugby will continue to offer recognised refereeing qualifications through the structured training programme while the new fast track scheme will provide additional support to those identified as being outstanding prospects - primarily ex-internationalists and Premier League players - through a targeted recruitment and nomination process.

Iain Heard, National Referees Academy Manager, said: "In a similar way to how the Referee Academy operates, the fast track scheme will provide stand-out individuals with monthly one to ones, video analysis of their performance and tailored nutritional and fitness advice, on top of the high standard of training they receive at district level.

_x001C_Of course anyone interested can apply for referee courses and receive specific referee training but the fast track scheme is now in place to single out those who show potential to referee at a higher level - particularly international players like Alex Pratt , one of the first nominees."

Each entrant to the two year programme will be overseen by the referee academy manager who will ensure the development of their practical match officiating skills and knowledge as well as monitor the candidates_x0019_ refereeing and fitness progress.

Scotland back-row, Alex Pratt, said: _x001C_I_x0019_ve been registered as a referee for two years now and I really enjoy it. When you_x0019_re refereeing there are 31 people on the pitch hopefully all enjoying themselves and I like being a part of that.

_x001C_We get a huge amount of support from the local referees_x0019_ societies who provide you with a refereeing mentor as well as fitness and nutritional programmes.

_x001C_I_x0019_d encourage anyone to give it a go._x001D_

Chairperson of the SWRU board, Sandra Kinnear, added: _x001C_The new fast track refereeing scheme aims to increase the number of female referees in the men_x0019_s and women_x0019_s leagues and women_x0019_s international fixtures, to increase the number of female members of Referee Societies and to improve the performance of selected referees and prepare them for appointments to premier level and women_x0019_s international level.

_x001C_We_x0019_ve created a range of pathways to make it easier for women to get into refereeing. There_x0019_s as much opportunity for a current or ex-international to become a referee as there is for a 16 year-old school leaver._x001D_

The accessibility of the programme will be underlined to all present at the SWRU AGM this Saturday (10 May).

Example Pathway for scheme members
Premier 1 Age Grade and International

Premier 2 International Women_x0019_s

Premier 3 International Women_x0019_s

National League SRU Academy _x0013_ L2/3 qualification

U18 and 2nd XV Women_x0019_s Premier

U18 and 3rd XV Women_x0019_s Premier

U18 development and 3rd XV Women_x0019_s national league, society membership

U16 club Women_x0019_s National League _x0013_ L1 qualification