Hollie Davidson has made history by becoming the first contracted female referee in Scottish rugby.
The former Scotland under-20 international from Aboyne will join the Scottish referees high performance programme and will be supported in her development towards test match status.
Scottish Rugby yesterday announced the appointment of former Scotland women’s under-20 cap Davidson.
The 24-year-old, who made her international refereeing debut on the World Rugby HSBC Sevens circuit this year, said: “I am delighted to join Scottish Rugby as a contracted referee, having made the transition from player to match official and enjoyed refereeing from the moment I picked up the whistle.
“My focus next season will be on securing my position on the sevens circuit, and putting myself in contention for the top matches, while also developing within the 15-a-side game on a domestic level.”
Davidson added: “Refereeing rugby is completely different to playing. It is the type of involvement where you have to stay mentally sharp and on the button for 80 minutes.
“It keeps you involved in the game and match officials are often found in the clubhouse having conversations with teams after matches, as part of the rugby family.
“Although you are out on the park solo, there is a real team ethos among match officials, whether you are part of a referee society or go up through the ranks and become an elite referee, the support to succeed is available.”
A former half back, she first became involved in rugby with her school team in Aboyne, progressing through the regional pathway and later representing Edinburgh University, while studying for a degree in economic history.
Davidson also played for BT Women’s Premier League side, Murrayfield Wanderers, for several seasons and represented Scotland’s under-20 side from 2010-2012.
In October 2015, after attending a Scottish Rugby women’s only refereeing course, her interest in officiating grew and her development quickly progressed.
She was subsequently selected to officiate at four of this season’s World Rugby HSBC Women’s Sevens Series tournaments.
Davidson is appointed to several Rugby Europe Sevens tournaments during June and July and it is envisaged she will continue to officiate international sevens with a goal to be selected for the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020.
SRU referee commissioner Tappe Henning said: “Hollie’s playing background and knowledge of the game has seen her rise through the ranks while making an effective transition from player to referee.
“This appointment demonstrates our commitment to developing female referees and ensuring the growth of home-grown talent, as we strive to compete for more appointments at World Rugby tournaments and international competitions.”