Super Rugby’s first female assistant referee

Date published: June 29 2016

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Australian referee Amy Perrett is set to become the first female assistant referee to feature in a Super Rugby match on Saturday.

Fresh from the Sevens Olympic repechage in Monaco, Perrett will head straight into another crucial challenge, assisting Angus Gardner in the Rebels and Stormers clash.

Gardner, with whom Perrett has shared a few milestones, was quick to remind Perrett of the stakes of the match up.

"I got an email the other day saying this is a must-win for the Stormers to stay at the top of the conference so I read that and you go, ‘thanks for that’," she said.

The big stage is nothing new for Perrett, who has officiated a Women’s World Cup final and the women’s Six  Nations has been named among the referees for next month’s Rio Olympics.

This weekend’s appointment is the latest in a number of firsts Perrett has ticked off and while her trailblazer tag is something of which she is conscious, it’s not a status she wants to define her.

"I don't overthink it too much – you can put a lot of pressure on yourself being the first girl I think," she added.

"I'm there for a reason and I've just got to focus on the thought that I'm there because I deserve it and I've just got to do a good job, my job and everything will sort itself out."

While her concentration is always on just performing, Perrett hopes her achievements do show women in other SANZAAR nations that there are opportunities for women to break through.

"It gives an opportunity for people for girls in New Zealand or South Africa to say, ‘If the Australian girl can do it why can't we?’," the 2014 Australian Referee of the Year said.

"It puts on a bit of pressure (on me) to perform well so that pathway can become clearer and more open for girls to get through."

And while female referees aren’t as common, Perrett said it would only be a matter of time before people realise the perks of the globe-trotting career pathway.

"There's so many opportunities for women. You can ref both men's and women's side of the game, you can ref both 15s and 7s, there's more opportunities for females. You can travel the world, it's a great experience…it doesn't get too much exposure, what actually you get to do. I'd encourage anyone to give it a go."

The New South Wales referee will assist in the Reds vs Rebels match on July 15 before heading to Rio at the end of the month.

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