The IRFU recently brought together all current female referees for a dedicated Women's Referee Development Day at the IRFU High Performance Centre. The day was an opportunity to share experience, develop skills and build a sense of community.
From National Panel referees to brand new people picking up a whistle for the first time, the day was a chance to begin building a wider community of female referees.
There were modules on strength and conditioning for referees, referee positioning, and technical areas such as the breakdown. But more than that, it was a chance to bring everyone together for the first time.
Amanda Greensmith, IRFU Women’s Development Officer, said: “It is about creating an environment and an opportunity for women so that they do see themselves as part of the game and they can see a clear pathway for them to get to whatever level of the game they are interested in – whether as player, coach or referee.
“The people here today care about giving back to the game. Some of them were refereeing games yesterday and some were involved in other CPD courses in the game.
“They’re here on a Sunday for the betterment of themselves as referees, but also what they can contribute back into the wider game.”
National Panel referee Grainne Crabtree was delighted with the initiative, adding: “We have girls who have been refereeing for eight or nine years coming together with girls who just came through the new referee course yesterday.
“We’ve got a wealth of experience to share and today was great because they felt comfortable asking questions.”