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All-female line-up of on-field match officials at the 2024 Guinness Women’s Six Nations

The 2024 Guinness Women’s Six Nations kicks off this weekend with three exciting fixtures. France will kick off against Ireland in Le Mans at 14:15 UK time on Saturday 23 March, Wales host Scotland in Cardiff from 16:45 UK time the same day and Italy take on England in Parma to finish the first weekend of fixtures at 15:00 UK time on Sunday 24 March. 

A total of eleven female match officials (excluding TMO) representing eight nations will officiate the 15 tests at this year’s tournament. This follows an all-female list of on-field match officials at the tournament since 2019.

This year’s list of officials will feature experienced referees in: Kat Roche (USA) Maggie Cogger-Orr (New Zealand) Sara Cox (England), Hollie Davidson (Scotland), Aurélie Groizeleau (France), Clara Munarini (Italy) and Joy Neville (Ireland) as well as Women’s Six Nations debutants Natarsha Ganley (New Zealand), Chelsea Gillespie (Scotland), Melissa Leboeuf (France), Amber Stamp-Dunstan (Wales) and Holly Wood (England).

England’s Sara Cox made history back in 2016 by becoming the first professional female rugby referee and this year received an MBE for her services to rugby union. Hollie Davidson of Scotland has also made history several times by becoming the first female to officiate a men’s Six Nations team when she was involved in Portugal v Italy in 2022 and this year, she became the first female to officiate at the Men’s Guinness Six Nations as the Assistant Referee for England v Wales at Twickenham in February.

The only female Television Match Official (TMO) to feature at this year’s tournament will be Rugby Australia’s Rachel Horton who will be involved in both England v Ireland and Wales v Italy. Horton, who has a PhD in Immunology, is an ex-captain in the British Army and who previously played back row in England and Canada over the course of 10 years, began refereeing in Australia back in 2008. Horton will also be involved as Television Match Official at the 2024 World Rugby Pacific Four Series which features the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand women’s teams. 

This impressive group of both up-and-coming and experienced female rugby officials will be aware that their roles are not limited to their on-field duties. Alongside the growing numbers of female players and coaches, they aim to inspire future generations of women to get involved and fly the flag for women in rugby. 


sport, uk, women in sport