Melbourne - 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 XVs and Sevens, 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 also assist in the Reds v Rebels match on July 15 before heading to Rio at the end of the month.