Davidson to make Guinness PRO14 debut
Scottish referee Hollie Davidson will take charge of her first Guinness PRO14 match this weekend after being appointed to the Round 16 game between Munster Rugby and Benetton Rugby.
Davidson is the latest product of the Guinness PRO14’s elite referee pathway and follows in the footsteps of Joy Neville in becoming the second female official to be appointed to a Championship fixture. This appointment comes after Davidson’s initial debut was pencilled in for Round 11 fixture between Glasgow Warriors and Benetton Rugby, which was postponed due to severe weather conditions.
The 28-year-old is highly accomplished and after playing scrum-half for Scotland at Under 20s level she set her sights on becoming a professional referee and reached that milestone in 2017 as Scotland’s first full-time match official.
Davidson was selected at the Women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens (2017), Commonwealth Games and Rugby World Cup Sevens (2018), Women’s Six Nations (2019 & 2020) in addition to her numerous appointments as an assistant referee in the Guinness PRO14.
Greg Garner, Elite Referee Manager of PRO14 Rugby, said: “Our elite referee pathway has greatly improved in recent years thanks to the efforts of our unions working together and it is very rewarding to see Hollie Davidson earn the right to make her debut this Friday after the disappointment of the postponement a few weeks ago. The elite pathway has been put in place to identify match officials with the potential to referee at Test level and as a result we have now seen Andy Brace (IRFU) and Mike Adamson (SRU) appointed for Guinness Six Nations games this season. In addition, Joy Neville (IRFU) has also performed the role of TMO in Rounds 1 and 4 of the Six Nations.
“It is also ground-breaking for the sport that Joy has been selected as the TMO for the game. We have a competitive group of referees now and it is great to see younger officials pushing through looking to hold the whistle on the biggest occasions.
“Andy Macpherson, Tappe Henning and their team at Scottish Rugby have played a huge role in putting Hollie into this position and ensuring she was given the right opportunities to progress her refereeing career. Hollie now gets her opportunity to perform and we all expect her to kick on and join the likes of Adam Jones and Craig Evans (WRU) and Chris Busby (IRFU) in working to establish themselves firmly in our Elite Referee Squad.”
Davidson is a regular on the match official panel for the Sevens World Series and had been slated for the Tokyo Olympics prior to its rescheduling and was also set to make her debut at senior level in the men’s game in January before Rounds 3 and 4 of the European Challenge Cup were postponed and in the Guinness PRO14 prior to the postponement of the Glasgow Warriors v Benetton Rugby game.